(Providence, Rhode Island) – Every year on Super Bowl Sunday I try to find something fun to combine the worlds of sports and politics. This year let’s call it, “double trouble!” With two brothers – Jim and John Harbaugh – coaching against each other, I thought it might be fun to chat up some famous brothers in the world of sports and politics. I have had the good fortune in my career to cover and interview many of those listed here:
The Bush Leagues – When Jeb Bush was elected Governor of Florida in 1998, while his brother George W. was the sitting Governor of Texas, many people wondered if that had ever been done before. Well, another famous American political family had indeed done it. Governor Nelson Rockefeller (R-N.Y.) served at the same time his brother was Governor Winthrop Rockefeller (R-Ariz.). Jeb may run for president in 2016, and if he won, that would be a first. No brothers have ever won the White House. (Yes, we’ve had fathers and sons twice, cousins and even a grandfather-grandson combo, but never brother presidents).
Brave Brothers – As a kid watching the Milwaukee Braves in the early 1960 I got to see two sets of brothers in Major League Baseball. Braves great Hank Aaron played alongside his younger brother Tommie. And Felipe Alou played during many of the same years as his brothers Matty and Jesus.
Three Brothers, Again! – More recently Major League Baseball has had three brothers Bengie, Jose and Yadier Molina, with three things in common: they are siblings; they are catchers; and, they have won World Series rings!
Senate Sixties – During the 1960s, three brothers served in the U.S. Senate. John Kennedy 1960-61; Bobby Kennedy 1965-68; and Teddy Kennedy 1962-2009. They may be the only three siblings to ever serve in that body, let alone in the same decade.
Hockey Highlights – I was a big hockey fan and even played a bit as a kid. My favorite team was the Chicago Black Hawks led by Tony Esposito, but I remember his Boston Bruin brother Phil Esposito from that same great generation of the NHL. Both are in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Man Oh Man, It’s The Manning’s – Maybe the only way to top the coaching Harbaughs this year is to have a Denver Broncos vs. New York Giants Super Bowl next year, pitting brother quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning against each other. It could actually happen! Maybe their dad Archie would come out of retirement to coach!
Brothers in Arms – Recent brother political duos have included Sen. Carl Levin (D) and brother Rep. Sander Levin (D) serving together for Michigan in Congress; and brothers Sen. Tim and Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R) serving Arkansas together on Capitol Hill. In fairness, we now have a “sister act” in Congress, too, with Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), serving alongside her big sister, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.).
Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio? – One of the saddest stories I ever covered was Joe DiMaggio’s funeral in San Francisco back in 1999. Joe, was a baseball star along with brothers Dom and Vic.
Play Ball! – Other baseball brothers I got to see in person: Joe and Phil Neikro; Jim and Gaylord Perry; Ken and George Brett.
Twin Texas – And back to politics, the Longhorn State has “double trouble” these days. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (D) competes in the political and media spotlight with his twin brother Joaquin Castro (D) who was sworn in to his first term in Congress this year!
All in the Family – Not all brothers enter the same line of work. Today I salute my two older brothers, Bill, a prominent Wisconsin banker, and Mike, a well-known emergency medical physician in Wisconsin. They are my big brothers and my heroes. My greatest Super Bowl memories were as kids – with our dad, mom and sisters – watching Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers win Super Bowls I & II. I cherish those great family memories to this day!
Enjoy the game everyone! My best to the Harbaugh family today, too!
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