Since the invention of baseball, there have been close to 20 sets of twin brothers who have spent time in the major leagues and the Petersons are looking to join their ranks.
Eric and Pat Peterson grew up in Delaware and have played on the same team with each other through high school, travel ball, and even to college. The pair started their college careers at Temple University.
“Temple was our only offer out of high school so we took it,” Pat said. “And after Temple University said they were cutting the baseball program, we transferred to NC State together.”
But the decisions were made by each brother individually.
“It wasn’t like we both talked about it and decided to make that decision together. We each made the decision to go to NC State,” Pat said. “It was fairly close to home. There was stuff to do and the campus was nice so I chose to go there. My brother just happened to really like it and want to go there too.”
Fast forward to the summer of 2014 and the Petersons are in Rhode Island playing summer ball. It’s draft day and the pair are leaving their hotel room to head to a game. Pat got the call first after being drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 23rd round of the 2014 draft. Despite the joy of being drafted, Pat said it left him a little flustered as well.
“It was great. I was extremely happy to be drafted and move on to the next step of my baseball career,” Pat said. “But at the same time I was nervous and didn’t know how to react because my brother still hadn’t been picked.”
An hour or two passed by before the Houston Astros called Eric Peterson’s name in the 37th round to the brothers’ relief.
“Draft day felt extremely long and I could tell Pat was uneasy and flustered. We have been wanting to play professional baseball since we were kids,” Eric said. “To get that chance has been a dream come true for us.”
The turnaround was quick as the twins were drafted on Saturday and reported to their respective teams by the following Tuesday. Both were promoted to Class-A in 2015 with Eric joining the Quad Cities River Bandits and Pat joining the Clinton Lumberkings. While they played two hours apart last season, the pair play less than an hour away from each other this season. The proximity gave the twins the opportunity to live together.
“Through the River Bandits, I was able to get in touch with a host family in Le Claire. As I was driving to their house, I saw a sign for Clinton that said it was 20 miles away,” Eric said. “It seemed perfect because it was about halfway between both of the cities we play in and we had an extra bed. I asked my host family if it would be possible for my brother to live with them too and they said yes.”
The Petersons have turned a few heads with their similarities. Both stand around 6’4” weighing roughly the same.
“Everyone thinks we’re identical twins,” Eric said. “But we’re fraternal twins who just happen to look the same.”
But they are distinctly different in their pitching. Eric is a right-handed reliever while Pat is a left-handed starter.
“I tend to focus on off-speed stuff and not so much on speed,” Pat said. “And I hate to admit it but my brother throws harder than me.”
The brothers said playing against each other has felt weird at times but they are thankful to have someone else there to help them progress through their respective careers.
“It’s different being separated because we can’t talk to each other in the dugout and tell each other what we’re doing wrong,” Eric said. “But it’s fun because we talk about it whenever we get home.”
“When we play each other he can see what I’m doing,” Pat said. “It’s like having another teammate because he can tell me what I need to fix and he knows my style. I mean, we’ve played baseball together since we were five.”
With the end of the 2015 season almost in the books, the Petersons said they are focusing on having a relaxing yet productive off-season and have loved every minute of sharing the experience together.
“I come home at the end of the day and know I have a sounding board and someone to talk to about how to get better,” Eric said. “He always has something to say and has constructive criticism.”
“It’s been a great season. I think we’ve pushed each other to be better,” Pat said. “It’s been a fun year for us.”