Brothers in Arms: How Do the Harrisons of UK Rank Against Other Sibling Successes

Posted in Professional Sports on March 8th, 2015 by Ian Paregol

HarisonsMarch 8, 2015 – As the Harrison brothers (Aaron & Andrew) and the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team continue their pursuit of perfection with the SEC Championship and NCAA Tourney looming, The Bench Jockeys started thinking about how other siblings have performed over the years in the sportsworld and how we would rank them as a sub-group of athletes.

What we discovered was the Harrisons have a long way to go to crack the Top 100, let alone the Top 20 that we have digested and analyzed for your consideration herein.  This was way more difficult to quantify than one would think.  There were  many siblings that did not sniff our list but were remarkable for their achievements.  A few of the particularly noteworthy are highlighted below.

For example, we all know that Jackie Robinson was arguably the best second baseman of all time, but did you know that Jackie’s older brother, Matthew “Mack” Robinson, earned a Silver Medal in the 1936 Olympics in Munich.  He finished 2nd by 0.4 seconds to none other than Jessie Owens.

We knew that we could not ignore the most popular sport on earth – soccer – but the Charlton brothers finished on the outside looking in. Who were they you ask?  Sir Bobby and twin brother, Jack, won the 1966 World Cup for England.  Jack was FWA Footballer of the year in 1967; won 2 Fairs Cups; a league title and FA Cup.  Sir Bobby survived a tragic air crash in Munich in 1958 that killed many of his Manchester United teammates. He went onto play over 600 games for ManU, with a goals per game average of an incredible .328 while hauling in an array of individual honors.

Here’s a fact that might win a few bar bets for you:  Both Marat Safin and his sister, Dinara, are the only brother-sister tandem to achieve a world number 1 pro tennis ranking – Matt in 2000, Dinara in 2009.  We suspect that you might have an inkling about the tennis sibs who did make our Top 20, however.

Lastly, before we move onto our rankings, we considered the array of brothers who played cricket.  The Aussies tout the Chappells of the 1970s, the Zimbabweans love the Flower twins of the 1990s and currently, the Pakistanis queue up to see the Akmals, but none of us are actually smart enough to really understand which are the best sibs – so we left them all off of the list.

And now without further adieu….let the outrage and second-guessing begin.

Sibs Sport
20 Dominique & Gerald Wilkins Basketball
19 Al Joyner & Jackie Joyner-Kersee Track & Field
18 Ronde & Tiki Barber Football
17 Joe & Phil Niekro Baseball
16 Bruce & Clay Matthews Football
15 Michael & Ralf Schumacher F1 racing
14 Dr. Ironfist & Dr. Steelhammer Klitschko Boxing
13 Bobby & Terry Labonte Racing
12 Felipe, Matty & Jesus Rojas (Alou) Baseball
11 Bob & Michael Bryan Tennis
10 Michael & Brian Laudrup Soccer
9 Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich & Ron Sutter Hockey
8 Phil & Steve Mahre Skiing
7 Phil & Tony Esposito Hockey
6 Reggie & Cheryl Miller Basketball
5 Michael & Leon Spinks Boxing
4 Joe, Dom & Vince DiMaggio Baseball
3 Peyton & Eli Manning Football
2 Serena & Venus Williams Tennis
1 Rocket & Henri Richard Hockey

Why the Richards?  Over the 100 year history of the Stanley Cup and professional ice hockey, both Henri and Maurice “Rocket” Richard still both rank within the Top 25 of their sport; with The Rocket securing a spot within the Top 5 all time.  Although one could argue that Serena Williams may be one the five best women’s tennis players in history, and Venus did earn a number 1 ranking in 2002, the fact is, second-fiddle Venus is not as dominant in her sport as the lesser (just slightly lesser) Henri was in his.

We welcome your thoughts…but it won’t change our minds.


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