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It's Brotherly Glove

Same position, same team--rare feat for Molinas

By Ken Peters

April 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels' brother act couldn't be much closer.

When Jose Molina wants advice, he doesn't have to go far--Bengie Molina has the adjoining locker.

The brothers both catch for the Angels. Bengie, 30, is the starter and Jose, 29, the backup.

Jose yelled encouragement as his brother took batting practice before the Angels' season opener on Tuesday.

"We communicate well, especially on the field," Bengie said. "When he catches somebody he's not familiar with, I give him information about the pitchers, how they throw, what they use, and how to pitch to guys."

Said Jose: "He always is the big brother. In our home growing up, you had to have respect for your big brother."

Their father, Benjamin Molina Sr., and mother, Gladys, have three children, all sons. Against the odds, all three are major-league catchers. Yadier, 22, plays for the St. Louis Cardinals.

"I was just a kid when [Bengie] signed his first contract. I was happy and wanted to be just like them," Yadier said. "I'm just glad they are my brothers.

"When I was in the minors for four years, they gave me advice. They were always there to help me."

Bengie and Jose are the first set of behind-the-plate brothers on the same major-league team since 1887, when Amos and Lave Cross caught for the Louisville Colonels of the American Association.

Bengie, a two-time Gold Glove winner, hit .276 with 10 homers and 54 RBIs in 97 games last year, with a strained left calf and then a broken right index finger sidelining him part of the season. His brother took over while he was hurt.

Jose batted .261, with three homers and 25 RBIs, while appearing in 73 games in what was his second full big-league season. He also threw out 19 of 42 on attempted steals, with his 45 percent success rate highest in the league based on a minimum of 40 or more attempts.

Yadier, who hit .267 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 135 at-bats for St. Louis last season, has won the Cardinals' starting job this season.

Jose and Bengie both are married, and Bengie has two daughters. The brothers obviously feel a strong sense of family and credit their mother and father for their success.

"My parents worked hard for us, and they've given us everything we have right now," Jose said.

"My mother is probably the one who got us into baseball because my dad used to work at a factory from 5:30 [a.m.] to 8:30 at night."

Their parents made sure the three sons stayed on the straight and narrow.

"We could all be stuck in the streets now, with drugs and all," Jose said. "There was a lot of that back home, too close at times. It's just scary to think about it.

"The people we are, we just don't like any of that stuff. We were good kids and became good players and our parents are very proud of us. And we're very proud of them."

The family had a memorable day on Oct. 27, 2002. Bengie and Jose won World Series rings when the Angels beat San Francisco in Game 7, and their father, a former second baseman in Puerto Rico, was inducted into Puerto Rico's amateur baseball Hall of Fame.

"That was one of our greatest days in baseball and in life. It was very special," Bengie said.


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