Cubs’ Willson Contreras on All-Star Game with brother William: ‘That was our dream’
The 2022 All-Star Game will mark the first time the brothers have played on the same team in their professional careers.
The last time Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and his younger brother William played on the same team, they were kids scrounging up sticks to use as bats.
The patio doubled as a field, and they’d gather their friends to play with a plastic ball or crumpled paper wrapped in tape.
“We used to do that every single day,” Contreras said. “We were just kids wanting to play baseball, dreaming of coming to the big leagues, making it [in] the big leagues and then making it to an All-Star Game. That was our dream.”
Now they’re set to play together on the National League team next week. And they’re both lined up to start.
Fans voted in Willson as the starting catcher. William, who catches for the Braves, was a player ballot selection, but Phillies designated hitter Bryce Harper, who had been named the starter at DH, will be inactive as he recovers from thumb surgery, allowing William to take Harper’s place in the starting lineup.
The Contreras brothers will be the first siblings to appear in the All-Star Game together since Aaron and Bret Boone in 2003. They’ll also be the first brothers to play on the same All-Star team since Roberto and Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1998 and the first in the same starting lineup since the Alomar brothers in 1992.
All-Star week is going to be a whole family affair for the Contrerases.
“They deserve it more than I do, especially my mom and dad,” Willson said. “They did everything that they could to raise three kids in a poor neighborhood. And that’s not an easy job.”
William shared the news of his All-Star selection with Willson by texting him a photo of his invitation envelope Sunday.
“It makes me even prouder of him,” Willson said. “He’s been doing a really great job in the MLB.”
In April, the Braves optioned William to Triple-A for a couple of weeks. He told Willson he wasn’t going to go back again.
“That’s something that I really take pride in him [for],” Willson said, “because it’s not easy to say it and do it. But he’s done it, and hopefully it keeps going.”
While this will be William’s first All-Star appearance, it will be Willson’s third appearance — and third start. Willson said he’ll be happy to answer his brother’s questions ahead of the game, but he hasn’t told him what to expect.
“I want him to experience it on his own,” Willson said.
Sampson takes ‘L’ in fourth start
Right-hander Adrian Sampson came two outs shy of a quality start against the Orioles on Tuesday night, allowing three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 4-2 Cubs loss.
A walk in the fourth inning came back to haunt Sampson (0-1). Ramon Urias, the next batter, connected on a first-pitch sinker for a two-run homer that erased the Cubs’ one-run lead. The Cubs trailed the rest of the game.
“I know our bullpen was kind of cashed from the past week or so,” Sampson said. “So I came in today, and my goal was to pitch nine innings. It is every time I go out there.”
With the loss, the Cubs extended their skid to five games.