Same Name, Same Uniform, but Hairston Brothers More Different Than Alike
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres' center fielder graduated from high school in Tucson, Ariz. He's know for his bat more than his glove. He's thickly built -- 6-foot, 195 pounds -- doesn't smile a whole lot and isn't into chit-chat.
The Padres' utilityman graduated from high school near Chicago. He's a versatile fielder who has a .259 career average. He's wiry -- 5-10, 190 pounds -- and is almost always laughing or talking.
Those two do have something in common, though. Their DNA.
It isn't remarkable in itself to have brother teammates , as the Padres in recent years have had the Gileses and the Gonzaleses. But what's striking about Scott Hairston (on the right, above) and older brother Jerry Hairston Jr. is how unalike they are, in their games and their personalities.
"We're totally different [players],"Jerry said. "He's more the power guy, gets on a roll. I feel like I've got a little pop. Mine is more get on base and make things happen. I'm an infielder, really, and he's an outfielder.
"He's quiet, intense. We're both serious about the game, but I enjoy it a little bit more. I'm more talkative."
Said Scott: "Jerry's more feisty and likes to talk a lot. I'm just kind of more low-key. I don't have as much energy as he does. He's high-energy. I'm low-energy. That's just the way we've always been."
Jerry, 33, had an explanation: he takes after his mom, and Scott, 29, takes after their dad.
Jerry Hairston Sr., who played 14 seasons for the White Sox and Pirates, seconded it.
"Any time we're among friends, I'm the guy not talking a whole lot and my wife carries the conversation," said Jerry Sr., a minor-league hitting coach for the White Sox.
Scott has a certain seriousness and focus about him.
"When I'm on the field, it's business," he said. "It's not that I don't like to talk, I just don't."
Meanwhile, Jerry provides a steady stream of patter and is quick with a chuckle. And apparently it was always like that.
"Jerry is very animated," Jerry Sr. said. "He talks all the time. So there wasn't a whole lot [for Scott] to say. He just kind of had to absorb it, and as a person he grew to be more reserved."
Or, as Jerry Jr. put it: "I did all the talking, and he'd shut up."
The Hairston brothers grew up four years apart in Naperville, Ill., west of Chicago. When Jerry Sr. had to relocate to Tucson midway through Scott's senior year, he gave Scott the option of staying in Illinois or moving.
Scott chose Tucson, playing there his senior year and two seasons at Central Arizona College before being picked by the Diamondbacks in the third round of the 2001 draft.
At which point Jerry Jr., who played college ball at Southern Illinois, had reached the majors with Baltimore.
Scott was as big as his older brother by the time he was 16, Jerry Sr. said. And Jerry, the undersized kid since he jumped from Little League to Pony League, always had to push himself to keep up, developing a tenacity and confidence.
("He's a lot bigger than I am, but he's still the little brother," Jerry said.)
Jerry came up as a second baseman and developed into a useful player who can work in the infield or outfield; he started games at six different positions last year.
Scott was a second baseman coming out of college but struggled defensively while showing power potential (93 homers in 477 career minor-league games), eventually winding up in the outfield.
"It's funny when people try to compare us as players," Scott said. "They'd be better off comparing me to somebody else."
Jerry -- who has also played for the Cubs, Rangers, Reds and Yankees -- was a free agent last winter. He had been negotiating with San Diego for about two weeks when, on Jan. 16, the Padres re-acquired Scott from the Athletics.
The first thing Scott thought of when learning of the trade was that he'd have a chance to play with his brother.
"It was just like, 'You serious?' " said Scott, who had spent two years with the Padres before being dealt to the A's in July 2009. "I couldn't believe it."
Two days later, Jerry signed with San Diego -- but not just to join Scott.
"I was probably going to come here anyway," he said. "I wanted the best opportunity to play."
The added benefit is saving on cell-phone minutes and gas. Scott and Jerry will live about "a minute apart" in La Jolla this summer and can carpool to Petco.
"It's great," Scott said. "We're having a lot of fun. We get to talk every day. Usually this time of year we're on the phone a lot. We don't really call each other that much now."
One of the first things the brothers did this spring was ask the clubhouse crew to not put their lockers nearby -- in spring training, at Petco Park or on the road.
"We're going to give ourselves our space," Jerry said.
"We both felt the same way," Scott said. "We don't want to make an impression that we're forming any cliques or we don't want any more attention on us."
But there's no question they are close
In one recent spring training game, Jerry homered and then came out of the game. When he returned to the clubhouse, the game was on TV, tape-delayed, and he and a few teammates watched the home run.
"What did I tell you I was going to do today?" he said to Scott.
Said Scott to the other players around the TV: "He said he was going to take him deep."
"They've always been close," Jerry Sr. said. "Jerry has always been the big brother -- always ready to give counsel as an older brother, and as a player. And Scott listens. Even if he doesn't agree with what you say, he listens."
Perhaps it's because Scott and Jerry Jr. are so different that they get along so well.
"That would be something that took away from the sibling rivalry, because we're a lot different," Scott said. "He's always had his friends that he hung out with, and I had mine. It wasn't ever a time where I felt I had to be better than him or go out of my character to be somebody that I wasn't.
"Growing up, I just concentrated on myself. I never really compared myself to him: 'Well, Jerry does this, so I have to do it.' "