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Oh, brother! The short career of Ed Sauer

The Cubs attracted national attention last month when shortstop Andrew and catcher Austin Romine became the first brothers to play in a game together for the team since pitcher Kid and second baseman Lew Camp on May 8, 1894.

Andrew was designated for assignment on Sept. 6, ending the North Side brother act, at least for the time being.

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THE WRIGHT STUFF

Brothers have been part of the saga of professional baseball literally from the beginning. The first team of paid players, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, were led by pitcher-outfielder Harry and shortstop George Wright.

The website baseball-almanac.com lists no fewer than 431 sets of brothers who have played in the Major Leagues (https://www.baseball-almanac.com/family/fam1.shtml).

Forty-one players are in the Hall of Fame who also had a brother in the big leagues. But only 2 pairs of brothers have plaques in Cooperstown: the Wrights and the Waners, Lloyd and Paul, who were nicknamed "Big Poison" and "Little Poison" while playing from the mid-1920s through early 1940s, including 1927-40 as teammates on the Pirates.

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Both members of several other pairs of brothers had notable careers, from Roberto and Sandy Alomar Jr., and George and Ken Brett, to Tim and Todd Worrell, and Delmon and Dmitri Young.

Felipe, Jesus and Mateo played the outfield together for the Giants in a game in 1963. Dom, Joe and Vince DiMaggio all were outfielders, but never teammates.

Other trios of note include Clete, Ken and Cloyd Boyer in the 1960s and, more recently, catchers Bengie, Jose and Yadier Molina;

There were 4 O'Neills: Jack, Jim, Mike and Steve.

Five Delahanty brothers played in the 19th Century: Ed, Frank, Jim, Joe and Tom.

There have been several prominent pitching duos, including Harry and Stan Coveleski, Dizzy and Paul Dean, Bob and Ken Forsch,Greg and Mike Maddux, Joe and Phil Niekro, and Gaylord and Jim Perry.

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OVERSHADOWED

But among both pitchers and position players, 1 brother's career paled in comparison to the other's.

Among the position players are Tommie Aaron (brother of Hank), Ken Brett (George), George Dickey (Bill), Wilton Guerrero (Vladimir), Chris Gwynn (Tony), Steve Larkin (Barry), Rich Murray (Eddie), Billy Ripken (Cal Jr.), Frank Torre (Joe) and Butts -- yes, Butts -- Wagner (Honus).

Such pitchers include Paul Dean (Dizzy) Mike Glavine (Tom), Glenn Hoffman (Trevor), Mike Maddux (Greg), Ramon Martinez (Pedro), Henry Mathewson (Christy) and Paul Reuschel (Rick).

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The Reuschels were teammates on the Cubs in 1975-78, Paul's 4 years with the team. Rick was a Cub for 12 seasons, 1972-81 and 1983-84.

Kid and Lew Camp, in 1894; Danny and Hal Breeden, in 1971; and the Romines, this year, are the only other brothers who were on the Cubs at the same time.

A few brothers played for the Cubs in different seasons, such as Corey Patterson, in 2000-05, and his brother, Eric, in 2007-08.

And then there were the Sauers.

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LATE-BLOOMING SLUGGER

Many Cub fans remember Hank Sauer.

He broke in with the Reds in 1941 but played in only 47 games for them through 1945. After 2 more years in the minors, he became a regular for Cincinnati in 1948, at age 31.

Sauer hit 35 home runs that season and 31 the next, driving in 97 and 99 runs. He had only 4 homers and 18 RBI on June 15, 1949, when he was traded to the Cubs, along with Frank Baumholtz, for Peanuts Lowrey and Harry Walker.

The rest of that season, Sauer slugged 27 homers and knocked in 83 runs.

Over the next 3 years, he averaged 33 homers and 104 RBI, including 37 and 121 in 1952, when he was voted the National League's Most Valuable Player.

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Two years later, at age 37, he hit a career-high 41 homers and reached triple digits in RBI for a third time, with 103.

In 1955, Sauer missed 10, then 9 games in June; 10 more in September; and a total of 75, almost half the 154-game schedule.

He homered just 12 times and delivered only 28 runs, with a slash line of .211/.286/.387. Just before the start of the next season, the Cubs sent him to the Cardinals in exchange for Pete Whisenant.

In all of his 7 seasons as a Cub, Sauer slashed .269/.348/.512, for an OPS of .860 and an OPS+ of 126. His WAR was 18.9.

His 852 hits for the Cubs included 198 homers, 141 doubles and 17 triples. He also walked 365 times, while striking out 454. He amassed 587 RBI.

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YOUNG STAR

Hank was the second Sauer to wear a Cubs uniform.

His brother, Ed, was born Jan. 3, 1919, nearly 2 years after Hank's birth on March 17, 1917. But Ed made it to Chicago in 1943, 6 years before Hank.

Ed was 21 in 1940 when he turned pro with the Yankees' farm clubs in Easton, Pa., and Akron, Ohio.

The Cubs acquired him during the 1941 season and assigned him to Zanesville, Ohio, like Akron in the Class C Middle Atlantic League.

A .294 average earned him a promotion in 1943 to Class A Nashville, where he slashed .368/.428/.547 and was called up by the Cubs in mid-September.

In his debut, at St. Louis on Sept. 17, the 24-year-old played left field and batted fifth. After striking out and grounding out, he made his first big league hit, a single, in the seventh inning.

He had at least 1 hit in his next 6 games, was 0 for 8 over 2 games, then hit in 5 straight games, going 7 for 12, to finish his 14-game stint at .273/.322/.327. He had 3 doubles, 12 singles and 9 runs batted in.

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FAST START, THEN FIZZLE

Sauer began 1944 with the Cubs. He didn't appear in the field until his sixth game, on April 30, when he had a double in 3 at bats in Game 1 of a doubleheader. He was 1 for 4, another double, in Game 2, then went 5 for 11, including 2 more doubles, in his next 2 games.

At that point, on May 7, Sauer was batting .318/.318/.500. But over the next 23 days, in 14 games, he slumped to .138/.194/.138, managing only 4 singles in 29 at bats.

The next day, the Cubs optioned him to Los Angeles of the Pacific Coast League. He remained there for the rest of the year, slashing .293/.344/.416.

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He was back with the Cubs on Opening Day of 1945 and remained with the team all season. But he played in only 49 games, nearly half of them as pinch hitter (17) or pinch runner (6).

He hit 2 home runs, both against the Cardinals, but his line of .258/.317/.387 did not gain him a spot on Cubs' roster for the World Series.

On March 25, 1946, Sauer was dispatched to Los Angeles of the PCL once more, this time never to return to Chicago.

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SHORT STAY IN ST. LOUIS

After 3 years with the Angels, he was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Cardinals. He pinch hit for them on Opening Day of 1949, then started 7 of their next 14 games. In 3 of those starts, spread over 11 days, he went 6 for 14, including a double and a triple.

Between May 6 and June 14, he started only 4 more times and appeared in 15 games. On June 15, he was traded to the Braves, for catcher Phil Masi.

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BIG DAY IN CINCINNATI

Sauer, now 30, played in 79 of Boston's 99 remaining games, starting 53, including 12 in a row in September. He had hits in 38 games, in 4 of which he had 3 hits. On July 28, at Cincinnati, he had the game of his life: 5 for 5, including a double.

His slash line after joining the Braves was .266/.323/.364, with an OPS+ of 88. He had 57 hits, nearly doubling his previous total of 60. Among them were 12 doubles and 3 homers.

On Oct. 2, the final day of the season, Sauer singled home a run in the sixth inning that turned out to be the difference in a 2-1 victory over the Giants. Two innings later, he made the third out on an unknown play.

And with that, his MLB career came to a close, after just 4 years, 189 games and 501 plate appearances.

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BACK TO THE COAST

He was traded on Christmas Eve to the Dodgers, but when the 1950 season began, he found himself 2,800 miles from Brooklyn, playing for Hollywood of the Pacific Coast League.

He played for Hollywood, San Diego and San Francisco of the PCL in 1951, then retired, at age 32.

His final Major League numbers were .256/.309/.352, with an OPS+ of 83, compared to his younger brother's .266/.347/.496 and OPS+ of 123. Hank had 1,278 hits, including 288 homers; Ed, 117 and 5.

Hank drove in 876 runs; Ed, 57.

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Ed Sauer died on July 1, 1988, at the age of 69.

Hank was 84 when he passed away on Aug. 24, 2001.

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HALL OF FAMERS WHOSE BROTHER(S)

ALSO PLAYED IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES

Hank Aaron, Roberto Alomar, George Brett, Fred Clarke, John Clarkson, Roger Connor, Stan Coveleski, Dizzy Dean, Ed Delahanty, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Evers, Buck Ewing, Rick Ferrell, Tom Glavine, Vladimir Guerrero, Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman, George Kell, Barry Larkin, Greg Maddux, Heinie Manush, Pedro Martinez, Christy Mathewson, Eddie Murray, Phil Niekro, Jim O'Rourke, Gaylord Perry, Cal Ripken Jr., Wilbert Robinson, Joe Sewell, Joe Torre, Honus Wagner, Lloyd Waner, Paul Waner, Zack Wheat, Deacon White, George Wright, Harry Wright, Robin Yount.

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