The Lucroy boys of Umatilla have made their way to Milwaukee
MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Image by Mark Hoffman
MILWAUKEE - They hail from tiny Umatilla, Florida in the most rural part of the state. And although they are six years apart in age, Jonathan and David Lucroy shared one passion - baseball.
That passion this season has brought them together. Jonathan is the starting catcher for the Brewers. David, who was shut down just days ago after reaching his innings limit, was a pitcher for the Northwoods League's Lakeshore Chinooks of Mequon.
The Northwoods League is made of college players from different schools living with a host family from the area. David Lucroy already had one in place, and didn't need the potentially awkward 'get to know you' phase.
"This was definitely by design," David said of his brother urging him to play for the Chinooks, owned in part by Brewers legend Robin Yount. "He wanted me to come up here and spend some time with his wife and his daughter. That was the biggest reason for me to come up here."
Plus, as big brother can attest, having a big leaguer under the same roof has its advantages for an amateur feeling his way through the college game.
"He talked a little bit to Kyle Lohse about pitching," Jonathan Lucroy said. "It's just really fortunate to have him around to get him to see kind of what he needs to do to get to this level."
But that wasn't always the case. After all, we are talking about brothers.
"He just picks on me, always has," David added with a sly smile.
The hazing began early. Very early.
"He was four or five years old and me and my middle brother would hang him by the fence by his shorts," Jonathan chuckles.
And don't think it stopped there.
"They used to play hide and seek," David recalls. "And we would be outside. and I would be the finder, the seeker. And they would go hide, and right when I went outside, all of them would sneak back inside. So I'd be outside looking around and nobody was going to be there. So that was a pretty good one."
It certainly didn't seem to faze him at all. In his Freshman year this past season at East Carolina, David Lucroy went 4-2 with a 2.49 ERA, and came just two strikeouts short of leading the team, to a pitcher who threw almost 40 more innings.
So, in the coming years, we may very well see another brother act in the big leagues.