The touching story behind the Contreras’ brothers lineup exchange
Willson Contreras looked at the caller ID when his phone rang and figured his younger brother was calling to bug him again.
“He always does [that],” Contreras told media in Atlanta.
But William Contreras wasn’t being an annoying little brother. No, he was calling his older brother to let him know he was being called back up to the big leagues and would be in uniform when his Braves took on his brother’s Cubs.
“That was really cool when he told me that he got called up again,” Willson Contreras said.
So, the elder Contreras wanted to make the moment special. After all, it’s not every day a pair of brothers from Puerto Cabello, Venezuela have an opportunity to face off.
Immediately, every moment the Contreras brothers had been through growing up came flooding back in his mind.
He remembered watching William playing Little League in Venezuela. He thought of the pair as little kids in Venezuela dreaming, hoping and praying that some major league team would take a chance on them and sign them to be a part of organized ball. Then he recalled both brothers aspiring to rise through the ranks of their respective teams to become big leaguers.
“No one knows how hard the road is to get to the big leagues and having my brother playing against me — it’s just special,” Willson Contreras said.
That’s why he wanted to make Thursday’s game a moment he would never forget.
So, Willson came up with the idea of exchanging the lineup cards before the series finale between the two teams.
“I thought the best way to make my parents proud was taking the cards out together,” Contreras said.
He approached Will Nadal, the Cubs’ media relations senior specialist and the team’s translator, with the idea. Nadal shared Contreras’ plan with David Ross and he was fully onboard. Ross called Contreras into his office before the game and told Contreras he would be taking the team’s lineup card out.
Minutes before first pitch, both Contreras brothers stepped out of their respective dugouts and walked towards home plate at Truist Park. The pair shook hands with the umpire crew, exchanged the lineup cards and then hugged. As they broke off their hug, Willson wiped away tears.
“I’m crying because I’m proud of the job that we put together to get to where we are,” Willson Contreras said.
That moment will forever live with the Contreras family — the two brothers from Venezuela who are now World Series-winning, major-league catchers.
“It was the moment of my life, believe me,” Contreras said.