Los Angeles Roosevelt duo following in brothers’ footsteps
Is there any high school in California, or even the nation, that can match Roosevelt’s rare brother duo?
Two baseball players from Los Angeles Roosevelt have older siblings pitching in the major leagues.
“I’m very grateful it happened in East L.A.,” Jaime Rosales said. “It’s very important for the kids.”
Rosales, a junior pitcher, is the younger brother of Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Leo Rosales. Gabriel Romero, a senior pitcher, is the younger brother of Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero.
For a community as proud of its history and traditions as East L.A., imagine the excitement the older brothers generate each time they pitch.
“It’s great kids in the inner city have made it,” Roosevelt Coach Ray Ruiz said. “I let the kids know it’s not just a far-fetched dream anymore. It can be accomplished with hard work. There is a path.”
And the younger brothers are on that path to college, which might be the most important message sent by the older brothers. Romero went to Cal State Fullerton before reaching the majors. Rosales went to Cal State Northridge.
“That’s the No. 1 rule in the house — go to school,” Gabriel Romero said.
Added Rosales: “My parents are proud of me trying so hard to get to college.”
Romero and Rosales have lots in common.
“It’s really cool,” Romero said. “We understand each other. It’s made us closer as teammates.”
Besides friends asking for free tickets whenever the older brothers are in town at Angel Stadium or Dodger Stadium, the two have come to admire their older brothers in different ways.
Romero, who’s eight years younger than Ricky, sees his brother as his coach.
“If I have a question, I go straight to him,” he said. “He helps me out any way possible. I’ve learned everything from him. I’ve seen him work hard. I try to give it my all.”
Rosales, 12 years younger than Leo, taps his brother’s experience for things other than baseball.
“I learned life from him,” he said. “Your personality, your character. He teaches me to stay healthy, eat right.”
Rosales was able to watch his brother earn a victory against the Dodgers earlier this month at Dodger Stadium in an 11-inning game in which he didn’t leave until after midnight.
“That was an experience,” he said. “I’ve never seen a baseball game after midnight, and to see my brother pitch at Dodger Stadium was intense.”
Romero traveled to Toronto last year and spent a week as the Blue Jays’ bat boy.
Both younger brothers are works in progress on the diamond. Romero, who is 6-2 with a 2.13 earned-run average, doesn’t have his brother’s velocity but makes up for it with intelligence and dedication.
“He’s one of the hardest workers,” Ruiz said. “Having an older brother in the majors, maybe you’d think he’d have the opposite reaction. He’s the first guy in the weight room, the first guy at practice. He’s one of those kids you wish you had a whole team of.”
Rosales is a potential All-City pitcher in the making. He’s 3-1 with a 2.87 ERA.
“The great thing about Rosales is that he has a lot of upside and is starting to figure things out little by little,” Ruiz said. “I tell him he’s the only one who can beat himself.”
Ricky Romero was the City Section co-player of the year in 2002 when he graduated from Roosevelt. Leo Rosales was bused to Reseda from East L.A. when he was in high school and graduated in 1999.
Asked whether his brother worries more about beating the Yankees than neighborhood rival Garfield, Romero said, “Forget the Yankees. It’s still Garfield.”