Austin Romine came off the Cubs’ injured list Thursday. He had been out since late April with a wrist sprain. The veteran catcher had no idea that a few hours after arriving at Wrigley Field, he and a teammate would combine for something that hadn’t been done in the major leagues in 59 years.
Romine’s brother Andrew, an infielder, was tapped to pitch the ninth inning for Chicago in its eventual blowout loss to Milwaukee. Austin was sent behind the plate after pinch-hitting in the eighth. The Romines thus became just the 16th set of brothers in baseball history to appear in a game as a battery, and the first since Larry (pitcher) and Norm (catcher) Sherry did it for the Dodgers in 1962.
The outing didn’t go perfectly: Andrew Romine allowed a solo home run to Luis Urias to make the score 17-3 (the Cubs lost 17-4). But it ended sweetly: Austin Romine framed an 82 mph fastball on the outside corner for a called third strike against Jackie Bradley Jr. to end the inning.
Andrew Romine said he last threw to his brother in high school. “I was a senior, he was a freshman,” he said. This outing, he said, was “kind of like throwing the ball around in the backyard.”
This is the first time the Romines have been teammates as professionals.
Cubs manager David Ross told reporters he wanted to create a “bright spot” with the brother battery. Ross is in charge of a tanking team whose roster was ravaged by deadline trades; Chicago is 1-10 in August and has dropped eight in a row after Thursday’s loss. Andrew Romine was one of the replacements brought in after the deals.
“I know they appreciated that,” Ross said, per MLB.com. “When I got to tell Austin he was going to be catching Andrew, if you guys could’ve seen his face light up in that moment, that was kind of the highlight of the day for me.”
“It gave me a little smile,” Andrew Romine said. “That was something [to] have a little fun with, I guess, given the circumstances.”
MLB brother batteries
The 16 sets of brothers who have formed a pitcher-catcher battery in a major league game, according to the Society for American Baseball Research:
Will and Deacon Jim White, 1877-79
Ed and Bill Dugan, 1884
Pete and Fred Wood, 1885
Dick and Bill Conway, 1886
John and Buck Ewing, 1890-91
Mike and John O’Neill, 1902-03
Tom and Homer Thompson, 1912
George and Fred Tyler, 1914
Milt and Alex Gaston, 1929
Wes and Rick Ferrell, 1934-38
Mort and Walker Cooper, 1940-45; 1947
Elmer and Johnny Riddle, 1941; 1944-45; 1948
Bobby and Billy Shantz, 1954-55; 1960
Jim and Ed Bailey, 1959
Larry and Norm Sherry, 1959-62
Andrew and Austin Romine, 2021
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