Stubbs brothers share field for the first time since Wiffle ball

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Garrett Stubbs walked to home plate, smiled and tapped Astros catcher C.J. Stubbs on the chest.

C.J. put his right arm around his older brother.

It had been too long since Garrett and C.J. Stubbs played baseball together on the same field at the same time. In fact, the Stubbs brothers think it hadn’t happened since they played Wiffle ball as kids in the front yard of their San Diego home. But Friday afternoon in the Phillies’ 6-3 win over the Astros at BayCare Ballpark, the Stubbs brothers played a Grapefruit League game together in front of their parents, grandparents and aunt and uncle.

“It meant the world to me,” said C.J., who spent most of last season with Double-A Corpus Christi. “I’ve been watching him play for 27 years. He hasn’t seen me play in five years.”

“A long time,” Garrett said.

“It’s kind of surreal to be on the same field and having that moment,” C.J. said.

The Stubbs brothers missed each other by a year at Torrey Pines High School, and again by a year at college at USC. Houston selected Garrett, 30, in the eighth round of the 2015 Draft, and C.J., 27, in the 10th round in 2019. The pandemic ended any opportunities they might have had to play together in both 2020 and 2021. Then, Garrett got traded to the Phillies before 2022. Both played on Team Israel in the 2023 WBC, but C.J. replaced Garrett on the roster after Garrett tweaked his knee.

Friday they had their moment.

“Getting to see him hit and me just being able to say, ‘What’s up?’ to him on a big league field like this …” Garrett said.

“I was nervous on the bus ride over, I’m not going to lie,” C.J. said. “I was more anxious for this Spring Training game than anything.”

Sibling rivalry reaches playoffs as Nola bros face off

“The Kelce brothers just talked about all the backyard football games that they played,” Garrett said, referring to recently retired Eagles center Jason Kelce and his younger brother Travis. “Hearing them saying stuff like that resonates. Because we get to play our sport professionally, and then getting to do it on a bigger stage like this, it’s just so much fun.”

The Stubbs brothers played a lot of baseball in the front yard of their home. The house sat atop a hill, so they frequently chased and retrieved balls that rolled to the bottom. Their parents — T. Pat and Marti — occasionally replaced windows. Dad said Garrett hit Wiffle balls so hard that they left perfect Wiffle-sized holes in the glass.

It was a small price to pay, as Garrett and C.J. said they talked almost every day about playing in the big leagues.

“We’re big dreamers,” Garrett said.

“We were supposed to be on the same team,” C.J. said.

“I kind of messed that one up,” Garrett said.

C.J. entered Friday’s game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Garrett hit second. As he walked to the plate, their mother Marti pulled out her phone. Her husband, T. Pat, and other family members watched.

“I was trying to film it, but my hand was shaking and I was crying,” Marti said. “And I’m not really that kind of a person. I was just taken back with all the emotion of all the years of all their hard work. It’s literally a dream come true. I can’t describe it.”

“I am that kind of a person,” T. Pat said. “I’m still a wreck.”

“Garrett’s first birthday party when he could actually stand, he was three,” Marti said. “It was a baseball party. We played Wiffle ball.”

“That was life,” T. Pat said.

‘He won this one’: Younger Maton bests big brother

Garrett took a 1-0 cutter for a strike in the seventh inning. The pitch was low.

“He stole a strike on me,” Garrett said about C.J.“I was like, ‘Ah, a little down?’ to the umpire. [C.J.] said, ‘No, good hands back here.’ And I said, ‘Just shut up and catch the ball.’”

Two pitches later, Garrett singled to right.

C.J. led off to start the ninth. He flied out on a first-pitch fastball.

“It was a pretty quick one,” C.J. said, smiling.

But it was fun.

“It was a moment that we haven’t been able to have our entire lives,” Garrett said.