Bill and Patrick Peavey played against each other for the first time in their professional careers.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Patrick Peavey remembers the hit that forced him to look away.
Then a shortstop for Santa Clara University in 1999, Peavey had just watched the University of Southern California homer in the season-opener against his team.
During the batter's home-run trot, Peavey turned around, showing nothing but the back of his uniform. If it had been any other batter, Peavey's act may have been perceived as poor sportsmanship.
But this was his brother. This was another episode in the ongoing competitive feud between rival siblings.
"He got lucky, man," Patrick Peavey said. "The wind was blowing out. He got the hit off his fists. If he hit one to center field, maybe [I would have looked]. That was right down the line."
Today, nothing has changed, except for the fact that the Peavey brothers have taken their rivalry to another level.
Bill Peavey, 23, is a first baseman for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. Patrick Peavey, 22, is a third baseman for the Tri-City ValleyCats. They met for the first time as professionals Thursday night at Cafaro Field.
"It's awesome. It's definitely an exciting time for both of us and for the whole family to be out here," Bill Peavey said.
The match-up was so enticing that the Peavey parents, Bill Sr. and Pat, made the trip from San Francisco with their youngest son, Cal, 11, and will be in town for two more games -- tonight and Saturday.
Mahoning Valley defeated Tri-City 3-1 in the series opener Thursday.
"This is a perfect opportunity for us," Bill Peavey Sr. said. "We've followed them on the Internet, but we've been wanting to plan a trip."
Thursday's first professional meeting between the Peavey brothers culminated years of youth rivalries, days when they argued who was better and why.
"Many times after games, I'd have to get out of the car so they could finish their arguments in the back seat," Mrs. Peavey said.
There was rarely a game that didn't include some kind of banter between brothers, Patrick Peavey said.
"We used to be on the same team for so many years," he said. "If [Bill] had a really good game and I had a bad game, he'd say we won because of him, and vice versa."
After high school, the brothers went their separate ways and began collegiate careers, which would eventually land them in professional baseball.
Bill Peavey was drafted in the 11th round by the Cleveland Indians. Patrick Peavey was taken in the 33rd round by the Houston Astros.
"I felt sorry that my brother didn't go that [first] day," Bill Peavey admitted. "I was nervous and concerned for him, but I knew it would work out."
Bill Peavey was at a USC practice the second day of the draft when his brother left him a voice mail. The brothers' transition to the pro level had been completed.
Dream goes on
"Same dream, same path," Patrick Peavey said. "And it's still continuing."
Bill Peavey has played in 45 games for the Scrappers, batting .265 with one home run and 17 RBIs. Patrick Peavey has played in 36 games for the ValleyCats, batting .258 with three home runs and 17 RBIs.
"It's definitely a strange feeling," Bill Peavey said before Thursday's game, on being members of opposing New York-Penn League teams. "We've always been very competitive toward each other. When the first pitch is thrown, we're just going to play another game."
After the Scrappers' win Thursday, Bill Peavey improved his record against his younger brother to 3-0. Their college teams had met twice.
"We were fortunate enough to win both [college] games," Bill Peavey said. "They were close games. I got two up on him. Hopefully it's going to be five after this series."