CARY, N.C.—Phillip Maton ran track at Eastern Illinois, and his wife Ellen played volleyball there.
While their second-oldest son, Marc, ran track at Southeast Missouri State, the other three boys, Phil, Nick and Jacob, have turned the Matons into a baseball family.
“I kind of stuck to baseball from an early age, and they kind of in turn followed,” said Phil, the oldest Maton boy.
On June 11, the Matons gathered around a computer at their home in Indiana and watched as Phil, a righthanded reliever, made his MLB debut with the Padres. They traveled to Wrigley Field the next week to see him pitch in person.
Two days after Phil made his debut, Nick, the third-oldest, was drafted in the seventh round by the Phillies. In his pro debut with short-season Williamsport on June 27, he made a diving catch at shortstop for the last out of the game.
Jacob, the youngest, just finished his junior season at Glenwood High in Chatham, Ill. He had his moment competing at the Tournament of Stars at the USA Baseball National Training Complex this week.
“More than anything as a parent, you’re just happy your kid has the opportunity to chase their dreams and fulfill their goals,” Phillip said. “We’re obviously really proud of them, but we’re proud of them because they’re decent people, not because they’re good baseball players.”
Phil, 24, pitched at Louisiana Tech before the Padres selected him in the 20th round of the 2015 draft. He has yet to allow a run in 7.1 innings out of the Padres bullpen.
Nick, 20, was drafted in the 40th round by the Athletics out of high school in 2015 before going to Eastern Illinois and eventually transferring to Lincoln Land (Ill.) JC, where he batted .408 this year.
“It’s just fun watching them play and where they’ve been is where I’ve always wanted to get to,” Jacob said.
As a junior at Glenwood this season, Jacob went 3-1, 0.48 in 41.1 innings and is committed to play at Coastal Carolina.
Jacob has mirrored some of Phil’s traits on the mound. Nick described them both as “intense.” Phillip said they are both “mentally tough” and “aggressive.”
“His whole competitiveness is the way I want to be able to throw and compete,” said Jacob, who struck out 71 batters with just eight walks this season.
Phillip and Phil both said Jacob is much further along than Phil was at this stage of his career. Jacob is 6-foot-2, 164 pounds and throws his fastball around 89-91 mph, in addition to a slider and changeup.
Phil helps Jacob with questions about pitching when he can, like offering advice on the grip for a breaking ball, but for the most part he is letting him learn on his own.
“At the end of the day, he’s going to become his own pitcher,” Phil said. “He’s going to find something that works for him. He’s extremely talented, especially where he’s at right now.”
Instead of competing, the brothers are working together to achieve their baseball dreams. The goal is for one brother to set a blueprint for the next.
“I’m just going to try to do (for Jacob) the same thing Phillip did for me,” Nick said. “He’s just going to watch the way I work, and he’ll see how that works out for me. If he works the same way, the same thing will happen for him.
“We don’t really compete with each other. We compete against everybody else. We kind of stick together as a team.”