Top 10 Most Athletic Families in Sports

Athletic ability can be passed down from generation to generation. There are many professional athletes who have been forced to suit up against their own siblings. It is not hard to imagine that a couple of people who were once scrapping around in the backyard together could be just as good as each other. It becomes even easier to believe when you add in the fact they have the same blood running through them.

Over the years we have seen families like the Griffeys, the Barbers, and the Bonds field multiple professional athletes. It brings up the question: which is the most athletic family? Professional athletes are considered to be the best in the world. So much so that people are willing to pay to watch them perform their talents. Therefore, it could be argued the family with the most professional athletes could be the most athletic family in the world.

This article lists the top ten families to produce the most professional athletes. Since most of these families have the same number of players produced, their rank is determined by a few different factors. First is the number of athletes to come from the family. Secondly, the position on the list is determined by how many of the family members played under the same last name. In some cases, different last names will come up due to marriages or things of that nature. Lastly, when two families have an equal number of players with the same last name, it is ranked by how dominant the family as a whole was in their particular sport.


10 The Schofield-Werths

Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth (28) connects for a double during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Space Coast Stadium. Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images

Ducky Schofield is the patriarch of a family of professional baseball players. He was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates 1960 World Series team. His son Dick spent fourteen years in the majors with the Angles, Mets, Blue Jays, and Dodgers. Ducky’s daughter, Kim married Dennis Werth who was a member of the Yankees and the Royals. Kim Schofield-Werth was an Olympic long jumper and competed in the 100 meter dash. Her son Jayson was a member of the Phillies' 2008 World Series team.

9 The Rivers

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers during the first half of the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Images

Doc Rivers is probably most famous for coaching the 2008 NBA champion Boston Celtics. Before coaching he was an NBA all-star point guard. His knack for scoring buckets ran in the family. His uncle was Jim Brewer, a member of the 1972 USA Olympic basketball team. Brewer took full advantage of his Olympic performance and soon after was sign by the Cavaliers. Doc Rivers has two cousins who play professionally as well. Byron Irvin played for the Trail Blazers and the Washington Bullets, who have since changed to the Washington Wizards. Ken Singleton is Doc’s baseball playing cousin. Singleton played for three different major league baseball teams. Finally, Doc’s son Austin is currently shoot hoops with the New Orleans Pelicans.

8 The Alous (The Rojas)

Felipe and Moises Alou

When the Rojas family’s eldest sibling Felipe signed with the San Francisco Giants, the team’s scout mistakenly listed him under his maternal name of Alou. After this, his two brothers, Matty and Jesus, also joined Major League Baseball under the name Alou. Together the three brothers became the only family in history to occupy the same outfield at the same time. Later, Felipe’s son Moises, would become a six-time MLB all-star. Moises' cousin is the only member of the family to play under the paternal name of Rojas. Mel Rojas played for five different organizations and became the 28th pitcher to throw a nine-pitch/ three-strikeout inning.

7 The Hairstons

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. (6) makes an out in the eighth inning of the game against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Images

The Hairstons have been considered one of the most talented families in baseball for many years. It started back when Sam Hairston was a member of the Negro Leagues’ Birmingham Black Barons. After Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Sam was able to spend his final season as a professional in a White Sox jersey. His sons, Jerry and Johnny, would both go on to become professional baseball players. Jerry was the more successful of the two. He played 15 seasons as opposed to Johnny’s one month with the Cubs. Jerry’s sons, Jerry Jr. and Scott, also made it to the pro level. Jerry Jr. was a member of the 2009 Yankees’ World Series team.

6 The Barrys

Hall of Famer Rick Barry

Hall of Fame basketball player Rick Barry had four sons who were also professional basketball players. His oldest son Scooter never played in the NBA but made a seventeen-year career out of the sport in a number of foreign countries. Sons Jon, Drew and Brent were all members of the NBA. Brent was a two-time NBA champion with the Spurs in 2005 and 2009. Rick’s first wife was Pam Hale. Her father, Bruce, played for the Indianapolis Jets, the Fort Wayne Pistons, and the Indianapolis Olympians. Bruce Hale joins the family because he is Scooter, Jon, Drew and Brent’s grandfather.

5 The Browners

Houston Texans offensive tackle Kasey Studdard (54) blocks defensive end Keith Browner (65) during training camp at Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports Images

The Browners family legacy begins in the 1980s. Four brothers, Ross, Keith, Jim and Joey all became members of the NFL. In Super Bowl XVI, Ross set a Super Bowl record for most tackles by a defensive lineman as a member of the Bengals. Joey was a six-time Pro-Bowl safety with the Minnesota Vikings and is a member of the 1980s NFL All-Decade team. Ross’ son, Max Starks, was a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005 and 2008. In 2012, Keith Browner Jr. was drafted by the Houston Texans.

4 The Spinks

Cory Spinks, of St. Louis, lands a right to the face of Miguel Angel Gonzalez, of Mexico.

The Spinks family is a group of professional boxers native to St. Louis, Missouri. Michael and Leon both won gold medals in the Olympics and were Heavyweight Champions of the World in the 1970s. Michael Spinks has been inducted in the Professional Boxing Hall of Fame. Leon had three sons who were also pro boxers. His youngest son Cory Spinks went on to become the Light Middleweight and Welterweight Champion of the World. Darrell fought as a Light Heavyweight and his oldest son Leon Calvin also had a brief career as a professional. Leon Calvin’s career was cut short after two fights when he was tragically murdered in 1990. He was 19 at the time. He left behind a son, Leon III, who is now starting his own professional boxing career.


3 The Matthews

Clay Matthews Sr., Jr., and III

The Matthews name is still very relevant in professional football. Clay Matthews III is one of the best outside linebackers in the National Football League today. His grandfather Clay Sr. started the family’s sporting heritage as a member of the 49ers. Clay Sr. would leave pro football after four years to fight in the Korean War. His sons Bruce and Clay Jr. would both go on to have great careers in the NFL. Clay Jr. was a four-time Pro-Bowler with the Browns and Falcons. Bruce Matthews spent his entire 19-year career with the Houston Oilers and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bruce is widely considered to be one of the greatest offensive linemen of all time. The family’s third generation hosts two other pros other than Clay III. Casey Matthews is a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Kevin Matthews was a member of the 2010 Titans and is currently a free agent. Another family member will be joining the NFL ranks soon. Jake Matthews is entering the 2014 draft as a top offensive line prospect.

2 The Nessers

From left: Ted, John, Phil, Al, Frank and Fred Nesser.

Unless you live in the great state of Ohio, you have probably never heard of the Nessers. Therefore, before talking about this family, a quick history lesson is in order. The NFL’s first official season was in 1920. It was originally called the American Professional Football Association or APFA. This league was a combination of the two professional football leagues that were in existence at the time, the Ohio League and the New York Pro Football League. The Nessers were all members on the Ohio League. Brothers Ted, John, Frank, Fred, Phil and Al were all members of the Columbus Panhandles. Ted was both the team’s coach and a player. Fred was also a professional boxer. Al actually won two NFL championships after the NFL was first formed with the Akron Pros and the New York Giants. Later, Ted’s son Charlie would also become a member of the Ohio Panhandles. Ted and Charlie are the only father and son to have played together on the same team at the same time in pro football history.

1 The Sutters

The Sutter Brothers

No family has fielded more professional athletes than the Sutters. Hockey’s best family has produced eight pros. Brian played twelve seasons with the St. Louis Blues and his number is retired by the team. Darryl played eleven years and even coached the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup victory. Duane won an NHL championship with the New York Islanders. His brother Brent was a teammate at the time as well. Brent was the most successful member of the family. He won two Stanley Cups with the Islanders and scored over 800 points during his career. Twin brothers, Rich and Ron, also spent a number of years in the NHL. From the six brothers came a second wave of Sutters in the NFL. Darryl’s son, Brett played for the Flames and the Hurricanes. His cousin Brandon, who is the son of Brent Sutter, also played for the Hurricanes and is currently a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.


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