When 21-year-old Christian Arroyo of the San Francisco Giants stepped in against Cincinnati Reds 40-year-old starter Bronson Arroyo, baseball fans were treated to a first in Major League Baseball history.
Never before had two players with the last name Arroyo faced each other. That all changed when Christian muscled up and homered against the veteran 19 years his senior, but the truth is that’s only the latest layer to be added to a unique bond that has grown over the last few years.
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when seeing that matchup is the two players have to be related somehow.
As Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes, that’s not true at all. The Arroyo’s are not bound together by family ties, but they do share a special bond stemming from them attending the same high school, Hernando High in Brooksville, Fla., which is an hour north of Tampa.
The Arroyo’s obviously played there at much different times. In fact, Christian was just six days old when Bronson was drafted by the Pirates in 1995. But they played for the same coach, Tim Sims, who helped build a relationship between them.
Their first noted connection around the time Christian Arroyo was getting ready for his own draft experience in 2013. But it’s continued and grown since then, leading to their memorable matchup on Friday. Bronson Arroyo was even among the first to congratulate Christian following his callup last week, texting that ” Everybody in `Brooks-Vegas’ will be watching.”
We’re sure they were. We’re also sure this wasn’t the result Bronson Arroyo envisioned once this matchup became a possibility, but given how far away he appeared from the big leagues coming into this season, just having this opportunity had to feel special.
Let’s give credit where it’s due too. Bronson Arroyo really only made that one mistake. He ended up earning the victory in Cincinnati’s 13-3 win, allowing just three runs (two earned) on five hits over 5 1/3 innings. He also retired Christian Arroyo in their subsequent matchup on a fly ball to left field.
To most watching, the Arroyo-Arroyo matchup probably felt like a coincidence more than anything, But the unique circumstances and depth of their story makes it one of the most interesting as well.
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