Austin Romine

August 12, 2021: Romine brothers form rare battery for Cubs in blowout game

This article was written by Richard Cuicchi

Austin RomineMajor-league brothers are relatively rare. Brothers playing in the same game are even rarer. Brothers filling the positions of pitcher and catcher at the same time are rarer yet.

But that’s what occurred with Andrew Romine and Austin Romine for the Chicago Cubs against the Milwaukee Brewers on August 12, 2021.

The circumstances for this unusual incident involved 35-year-old Andrew Romine, normally an infielder, taking Wrigley Field’s mound in the ninth inning of a blowout game that the Brewers led 16-3. His 32-year-old brother had entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and substituted as catcher in the ninth. They became the first set of brothers as a battery in a major-league game since pitcher Larry Sherry and catcher Norm Sherry on June 28, 1962, for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 2021 season was the first time the Romine brothers had been major-league teammates. Andrew had debuted in 2010 and spent his first 10 major-league seasons as a utility infielder for four clubs. Austin, who reached the majors in 2011, was a reserve catcher with the New York Yankees for nine seasons, then moved to the Detroit Tigers for 2020. (They are the sons of Kevin Romine, an outfielder with the Boston Red Sox from 1985 to 1991, which as of 2022 makes their family one of only 17 instances of a major-league father having two major-league sons.1)

Both brothers had signed with the Cubs as free agents before the 2021 season. Andrew played for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs before returning to the majors on July 31. Austin started the season with the Cubs as a backup catcher to Willson Contreras but injured his right wrist in April and was out until he was reinstated from the injured list on August 12, as Contreras went on the IL with a knee injury.2

On the afternoon of August 12, Chicago was hoping to avoid a four-game sweep against the National League Central Division-leading Brewers. The Cubs, under second-year manager David Ross, were already looking toward 2022, mired in fourth place, 17½ games behind the Brewers.

The Cubs had traded third baseman-left fielder Kris Bryant, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and shortstop Javier Baez – all integral to their 2016 World Series champions – before the July 30 trade deadline. They had lost 13 of their last 15 games, including seven in a row. Andrew Romine’s call-up had followed the deadline deals; against Milwaukee, he started at shortstop, batting sixth.

The Brewers held a comfortable eight-game lead over the second-place Cincinnati Reds. They had shut out the Cubs, 10-0, the day before. Corbin Burnes, who went on to receive the NL Cy Young Award, turned in a masterful performance, striking out 15 in eight innings while yielding only four singles.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell pitted All-Star pitcher Brandon Woodruff (7-6, 2.23 ERA) against the Cubs’ ace Kyle Hendricks (13-4, 3.68 ERA), in what should have been a well-pitched game on both sides.

But that scenario didn’t pan out for Hendricks. He gave up five runs in the second inning, on the strength of Luis Urias’s RBI double, a two-run homer by Jace Peterson, and Willy Adames’s two-run single. The Cubs got a run back in the second when Woodruff walked two Cubs and committed an error to load the bases, then walked Rafael Ortega to force home the run.

With a 5-1 lead, Brewers manager Counsell removed Woodruff after three innings and 74 pitches; the pitcher attributed the lackluster outing, his shortest of the 2021 season, to “losing his mechanics.”3 Veteran Hunter Strickland, the first of five Milwaukee relievers, became the pitcher of record with a scoreless fourth inning.

In the fifth, the Brewers loaded the bases with none out for backup catcher Manny Piña. Piña drove Hendricks’ 97th pitch of the game into the left-field seats for the first grand slam of his eight-season major-league career, setting Milwaukee’s lead at 9-1.

Ross turned the game over to his bullpen after Piña’s grand slam, and the Brewers piled on seven runs in the sixth and seventh innings against Ryan Meisinger and Jake Jewell. Meisinger recorded the final three outs of the fifth but allowed four two-out runs in the sixth. Peterson delivered a two-run single, followed by Piña’s second homer of the game, a two-run blast.

In the top of the seventh, the Brewers’ Urias slammed a three-run home run off Jewell to make the score 16-1.

The Cubs, who had been held to just three hits during the first six innings, finally showed life in the seventh with solo home runs off Daniel Norris by Frank Schwindel and Patrick Wisdom.

Milwaukee’s parade of relievers continued with closer Josh Hader – who had not pitched in 11 days after testing positive for COVID on August 2 – getting an inning of work in the eighth. With two outs, Austin Romine, in his first major-league action since April 25, batted for rookie Manuel Rodríguez and struck out.

With Austin Romine’s appearance, the game began to make its mark on the Cubs’ record books. The brothers were now the first to appear in the same game for the Cubs since Paul Reuschel relieved Rick Reuschel on May 30, 1978, and the first to appear at the same time since Hal Breeden played first and Danny Breeden caught on June 4, 1971.4

The game moved to the top of the ninth with the Brewers leading 16-3. Austin Romine remained in the game at catcher, replacing Robinson Chirinos.

Ross also needed another relief pitcher. He called on Andrew Romine to move from shortstop to the mound. The battery of brothers was in place.

Andrew had previously pitched in seven major-league games, in an era when it became common for managers to utilize position players as relievers in the late innings of blowout games.5 As with many of the position players-turned-pitchers, Andrew hadn’t been particularly effective. In four appearances with Detroit in 2014-2017 and three with the Seattle Mariners in 2018, he pitched 5⅔ innings, posting a 12.71 ERA. (One of Andrew’s relief appearances with the Tigers, on September 30, 2017, occurred in the game when he became only the fifth player in major-league history to play all nine positions.6)

This time, he retired leadoff batter Eduardo Escobar with a groundout to third. Urias wasn’t through for the day, as he hit a solo home run, making it a five-hit day and 17-3 game. Not to be outdone, Peterson followed with his fifth hit of the game, a single.

Romine managed to get Piña out on a long fly ball and ended the inning by striking out Jackie Bradley Jr. looking, as Austin Romine framed his brother’s low-and-away 82 MPH offering on the outside corner.

The Cubs scored an unearned run in the ninth to make the final 17-4. The Brewers put on a show with one of their best offensive performances of the season – their 17 runs and 22 hits were season-high marks.

Urias tied a major-league record (with 15 other players) with five extra-base hits in a game. He had two home runs and three doubles, drove in five runs and scored five. “The best game of my life,” Urias said afterward.7 Every starting position player of the Brewers got at least one hit. Complementing Urias’s spectacular performance were Piña, with three hits including his grand slam and two-run home runs, and Peterson, with five hits including a home run.

With their poor showing in the game, the Cubs had only the Romine brothers’ feat to celebrate.

After the game, Andrew said, “It was kind of like throwing the ball around in the back yard.” It has been the first time Andrew had pitched to his brother since they played on the same high-school team. 8

Ross anticipated that there would be an opportunity for the brothers to play in the same game when they were activated within weeks of each other. “Trying to create a bright spot,” he said. “I knew they would get some time together. But I didn’t know it’d be like that. That was definitely something they can hold onto for a long, long time.”9

Austin was appreciative of Ross’s consideration. He said, “Kudos to Rossy for letting us do that. It’s something my brother and I will have forever, and it’s something that we can look back and tell our kids that, hey, we got to play catch in the big leagues together.”10

In addition to the Sherry brothers, other previous major-league sibling batterymates included Wes and Rick Ferrell, Mort and Walker Cooper, Milt and Alex Gaston, Wilmer and Bobby Shantz, and Jim and Ed Bailey.



This article was fact-checked by Mike Huber and copy-edited by Len Levin.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted and for pertinent information, including the box score and play-by-play.



1 “MLB Fathers And Sons: Alphabetical,” Baseball Almanac, accessed February 8, 2023,

2 2022 Los Angeles Angels Media Guide, 158.

3 Andrew Seligman, “Really Easy at Wrigley,” Wisconsin State Journal (Madison), August 13, 2021: B2.

4 The Reuschel brothers appeared in 24 games together for the Cubs from 1975 through 1978, including a combined shutout of the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 21, 1975. 2022 Chicago Cubs Media Guide, 30.

5 Emma Baccellieri, “The Novelty of Position Players Pitching Is Becoming Practical,” Sports Illustrated, April 20, 2021, The strategy to use position players as relief pitchers in blowout games is intended to limit the innings of bullpen pitchers in situations where the game was out hand. Austin Romine had also pitched twice in a mop-up role as a member of the Yankees, including allowing two runs in the ninth inning of a 16-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Game Three of the 2018 American League Division Series.

6 Jason Beck, “‘All 9 Romine’ Announces His Retirement,”, December 11, 2021,

7 Andrew Seligman, “Really Easy at Wrigley,” B1.

8Jordan Bastian, “Brother Battery! Romine Pitches to Romine,”, August 12, 2021,

9 Bastian.

10 Meghan Montemurro, “A Big-League Blessing for Brothers,” Chicago Tribune, August 19, 2012: Section 3, 3.

Additional Stats

Milwaukee Brewers 17
Chicago Cubs 4

Wrigley Field
Chicago, IL


Box Score + PBP:

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2020s ·