Every politically incorrect jokester knows what Irish twins are: siblings born 9 months apart to the red-headed Sons of Erin in honor of His Holy Father the Pope and ¾ of a year of abstaining from the sinful indulgence of gettin’ it on. Go forth and multiply: I think Saint Patrick said that.
But I digress. Today’s topic is (or are) the Brothers Izturis, Cesar and Maicer, born to the same father but different mothers (thank the Lord), six months apart in 1980. In other words, Papa Izturis was spreading his baseball seed around Barquisimeto like a bag of Scotts in the summer and fall of 1979. Hence, we have the half-brothers Cesar and Maicer, or as I like to say, Venezuelan Twins.
In any case, the Izturis genes are heavy on the infield position (insert inappropriate joke here) and both boys turned out to be fine utility players. In the past decade, they’ve played for a combined 11 teams. In terms of commonality, both have played for the Blue Jays, and both wear uniform #3 now, though at certain junctures they also both suited up with the hallowed #13 of Aparicio and his successors.
The Izturis boys are the kind you like to have around: this season Maicer has appeared in 73 games for Toronto, just about equally divided between third base, short and second. Cesar has played slightly less for Cincinnati, just 34 games, but it was his star that initially shone brighter: called up to the big leagues in 2001, he won the Gold Glove in 2004 and was an All-Star in 2005 for the Dodgers; as recently as 2010 he started 150 games, all at shortstop, for Baltimore. In the lineage of Venezuelan Gold Glove shortstops that stretches from Aparicio to Concepcion to Vizquel, Cesar is like Ozzie Guillen; an anomoly, a one-time winner. The vicissitudes of the sporting life and an arm injury seem to have derailed him after 2005 and he’s never gotten the mojo back completely, but it’s enough to hang around The Show.
Baby Brother Maicer, who turns 33 in September, had a more stable career in some ways, 8 seasons in Anaheim (never Los Angeles Angels, please!) bookended by appearances with our two Canadian teams, this year his first in a Blue Jay uniform. He hit .300 once for the Mouseketeers of Anaheim and has a lifetime .271 average.
In three more seasons than his brother, Cesar, who got the six-month jump-start out of the womb, has passed the 1,000 hit mark, not bad for a guy who seems to have to pack his bags at a moment’s notice. He’s also gone from making more than $4 million with the Cubbies in 2007 to a one-year, $800,000 deal with Toronto (is that in Canadian loonies or genuine Tio Sam dollars? Just checking).
Anyhow, the Izuturis siblings had a big night on Saturday. You tend to notice when you see the name “Izturis” twice on the ESPN ticker in rapid succession—at least I do. Cesar went 2-for-4 with 3 RBI in a Reds victory over Seattle. On the other side of the border, the Blue Jays only managed 4 hits against ex-Met Mike Pelfrey, but baby bro Maicer went 3-for-3, earning Barquisimeto bragging rights for at least one game. He has also made $3 million per season for the past 3 years, and is contracted to do so for the next 3 seasons, with a team option for the fourth.
A third brother, Julio, was also signed by the Blue Jays last winter, but has yet to see the Majors. Let’s see if the third time is as lucky as #s 1 and 2 for Papa Izturis.