Brothers as teammates nothing new for Atlanta Braves - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Brothers as teammates nothing new for Atlanta Braves

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ATLANTA -

It looks like a case could be made to refer to Atlanta as the city of brotherly love. According to the Elias Sports Bureau of Statistics, B. J. and Justin Upton are the 71st set of brother teammates in Major League Baseball since 1900.
             
The Braves not only have a history of brothers as teammates, but some of the best all-time baseball brother combinations in baseball.

"It's exciting. It's something you dream about," said Justin Upton.

"To be honest with you, it's like we've been playing together forever. Obviously he's my brother. He's been around me my whole life, so it's just kind of like we're in the house again just playing around," B. J. Upton said.

What you may not know is that brothers as teammates is nothing new for the Braves. In fact, it's happened eight times. Perhaps the most well-known pair are Hank and Tommie Aaron.

"It was a privilege playing with him," said Hank Aaron.

Another famous pair are the Niekro brothers, Phil and Joe.

"Boy, that was the best feeling that I had in my life," said Phil Niekro.

Both Aaron and Niekro know the special bond that brothers share.  The Niekro brothers, who grew up in a small coal mining town in Ohio, pitched together for two years with the Braves in the 70's before reuniting for one last season together as teammates with the Yankees in 1985.

"Here we are on the same team, wearing the same uniform, lockering next to each other, Yankee stadium, gosh, what my mom must be thinking, my dad must be thinking, my sister and all the people back in Lansing, Ohio," said Niekro.

In fact for Phil, a decorated hall of famer with 318 career wins, many of his greatest memories involve playing with or against his brother.

"I think the biggest memory I have and people bring it up, Joe hit one homerun in the big leagues and he hit it off me which won the ball game in Atlanta, and I don't know how many brothers can say that there other brother hit a homerun off of them and it was the only HR he ever hit in the big leagues," said Niekro.

Though Braves General Manager Frank Wren admits it wasn't a primary factor in his decision to sign the brothers Upton, he saw firsthand brothers thriving on and off the field with his twin sons Kyle and Colby. They grew up playing together before becoming teammates at Georgia Tech.  

"For us it was always a positive. It was a positive for them.  They leaned on each other for feedback and advice, and I always thought that was a positive and they did as well, so my own personal experience is it worked well," said Wren.

"I think this is going to be alright. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things are going to work out," said Aaron.

Hank and Tommie Aaron played together for parts of seven seasons. Combined, they hit more 768 HR's, more than any other brother combination baseball history.  Hank hit 755 of them. Phil and Joe Niekro won 539 games, more than any other brother combination. Phil had 318 of them.
          
As for numbers produced by the Upton brothers, we'll have to wait and see. But, the most combined World Series titles sure would be nice!

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