Brian Moran strikes out Pirates’ Colin Moran in brother-vs.-brother matchup
When his older brother struck him out in the fourth inning Thursday night, making the kind of history that few can ever achieve, Colin Moran immediately turned to the Miami Marlins catcher.
“I said, `Gimme the ball.’ I was trying to hold it for ransom,” said Moran, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ third baseman.
Of course, the baseball Brian Moran used to record his first big-league strikeout can only end up in one place.
“I’m pretty sure it will probably be on his mantle every time I walk into his house,” Colin Moran said.
Brother vs. brother.
The strikeout AND bragging rights. pic.twitter.com/dMnxb4JVNe
— MLB (@MLB) September 6, 2019
The event marked the first time since 1900 a brother faced his sibling who was making his major-league debut in a pitcher-vs.-batter scenario (or vice versa).
It also was the seventh time since 1900 a player played against his brother’s team in his first career MLB game. The most recent time it happened was 1998 with the Cora brothers, Alex, the Boston Red Sox manager, and Joey, the Pirates’ third-base coach. The Morans are the 409th set of brothers to make it to the big leagues, according to the Baseball Almanac.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, a father of three, let his thoughts wander into the stands where Mr. and Mrs. Moran were watching their sons with rapt attention.
“I felt bad for the dad, and happy,” Hurdle said. “It’s a special moment, a very special moment. Parents have to be so proud, so pleased.”
Colin Moran said “a million things” raced through his mind before the at-bat, especially when he thought about his brother’s difficult journey through the minor leagues. Brian Moran, 30, finally made it to the majors after starting his pro career in 2009 and winding his way through five big-league organizations, plus the independent Atlantic League.
“He’s been my inspiration my whole life,” said Colin Moran, who is four years younger. “Never giving up has kind of been the theme of his career. I would have given up probably. A lesser man would have given up with the road he had to go through.
“He’s always had the talent. He just had to overcome some obstacles, surgeries (including Tommy John) or (lack of) opportunities.
“There are a million reasons why that was special. Just to see him on a big-league mound was awesome.”
Colin Moran said he tried to find his parents in the stands before he came to the plate, but Bryan Reynolds grounded out on the first pitch immediately before him. It was time to get into the box. There was history to be made.
The count went to 3-2 and Brian Moran crossed up his brother with a 72-mph changeup. The bat never left his brother’s shoulder.
“It was bittersweet there. He made a good pitch on a 3-2 count. I was looking heater, thinking he’d come after me,” Colin Moran said.
Perhaps you can excuse the little brother. It was the first time he batted against his brother, other than playing whiffle ball in their backyard in Port Chester, N.Y.
At least, Colin Moran can feel good about getting hits off his brother in that venue.
“Yeah, I got a lot of them,” he said. “I lost count.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .