June 01, 2003

Trivial Stuff

I've decided that since all three or four people who occasionally read this blog are reputedly Cleveland sports fans to some degree, (and anyone else who stumbles in here can just take whatever we serve up) that I would post one of my favorite local trivia items for posterity.

Now, it would be an oddity if a pair of brothers happened to play two different professional sports in the same city, one with the Major League baseball team, and his brother with the local NFL team, (not necessarily at the same time). I'm not sure how many times that has happened. Probably not more than a handful of times. I suppose it would be really unusual if there were two sets of brothers in this circumstance in the same major league city. How many cities can say that they have this dubious distinction?

Well, it has happened in Cleveland not twice, not three times, but FOUR times. The burning question of course is: How many of these four sets of brothers can you name? One brother played at one point in his career with the Indians, and the other brother with The Cleveland Browns. Only one of the eight men could really be considered an "obscure" player, and one of them is in the Hall of Fame. Of the other six it would have to be said that they had at least their 15 minutes of fame.

Don't click "Continue reading Trivial Stuff" until you're ready to see the answers.

Wayne Kirby, Indians OF, 1991-96 and brother Terry Kirby, Browns RB, 1999.
Notes: Wayne got the extra-inning base hit that won the first game ever at Jacobs Field, and was a valuable fourth outfielder in 1994, fading somewhat in the World Series year of 1995. Terry was the top rated player in the country coming out of High School and never quite lived up to the press clippings, although he is still in the NFL as a reliable pass receiver out of the backfield, and a decent kick returner. He had a relatively undistinguished year (who didn't?) with the expansion Browns in '99.

Pat Kelly , Indians OF, 1981 and brother Leroy Kelly, Hall of Fame Browns RB, 1964-73.
Notes: Pat played 15 big league seasons, mostly with the White Sox and Orioles, and was a very fast and skilled outfielder. He played only his last, broken-down year with Cleveland. He had 250 career stolen bases, and was a decent offensive player. Too bad he had to work in the shadow of brother Leroy, Browns legend. He was a brilliant punt returner as a rookie in 1964, the championship year, and an electrifying running back thereafter. His bust can be visited in Canton.

Alex Johnson, Indians OF, 1972 and brother Ron Johnson, Browns RB 1969.
Notes: Alex played 13 years in the bigs, highlighted by winning the AL Batting Title in 1970 with a .329 average. Another example of the Tribe picking up a player on his way downhill. He hit 90 points less than that with us in 1972. Ron was a college phenom running back at Michigan, taken by the Browns in the first round in '69. Traded after that season to the Giants, he had two 1000 yard seasons in 1970 and 1972, before fizzling out of the league by '75.

Karl Pagel, Indians 1B, 1981-83 and brother Mike Pagel, Browns QB, 1986-90.
Notes: Mike was an adequate backup QB for the Browns for a few years behind Kosar, and his brother Karl, the aforementioned Mr. Obscure, had a cup of coffee with the Tribe from '81-83. Career highlights? Of his four hits in '81, two were triples and one a home run. Only 15 at bats, but a .733 slugging percentage. Nickname "Pongo" Pagel. Big guy, but so slow they timed him from home to first with a sundial. A legend.

Cleveland Browns alltime roster

Posted by dan at June 1, 2003 10:12 PM

I knew the Kirby's . . . but that was it.

Posted by: Joel at June 3, 2003 01:15 PM

I too could only come up with the Kirby's. What's really got me concerned is that you knew this off the top of your head, didn't you?

Posted by: alw9 at June 3, 2003 11:59 PM
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