Matthew Michael Duffy of the Giants is a 24-year-old infielder who joined San Francisco last Aug. 1 after being recalled from Double-A Richmond, where he was batting a rousing .332. Duffy helped the Giants down the stretch by contributing several key pinch-hits, a task that's usually difficult for younger players. Having made last year's postseason roster, Duffy's in camp trying to make the Opening Day squad as a utility man.
Matthew Edward Duffy of the Astros is a 26-year-old third baseman who ranked fourth in Houston's system with 18 home runs and 84 RBIs last year. That earned him a trip to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.
The Duffys shouldn't cause people to see double. For one thing, they look completely different. Houston's Matt checked in at a thick 6-foot-3 and around 215 pounds, while the San Francisco version is listed at a thin 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, though he insisted he gained about 10 pounds during the offseason.
Yet they're mistaken for each other quite frequently. When the Giants' Matt Duffy reached the Majors last year, the other one received congratulations from distant relatives. Houston's Matt Duffy hit for the cycle early in his Minor League career, causing his namesake to receive messages such as "Good job" on his Facebook wall.
"I got handed his baseball card [to sign] quite a few times," said the Giants' Duffy.
"I sometimes get his fan mail," Houston's Duffy acknowledged.
Mixups even occur among those who should know better. Recently, a baseball card was issued that featured a picture of San Francisco's Duffy yet had statistics belonging to Houston's Duffy on the other side.
They played against each other in the Class A Advanced California league in 2013, when Duffy the Giant played for San Jose and Duffy the Astro was with Lancaster. San Francisco's Duffy recalled that he struck out as the "beer batter," enabling fans to buy beer at cut-rate prices for a limited amount of time. Duffy added that his namesake was the "double-double" batter, giving everybody the opportunity to buy hamburgers at a popular fast-food chain.
The Duffys exchanged pleasantries that night while one of them was on base.
"It was like, 'Nice to finally meet you,'" the Giants' Duffy said. "Because I had heard about him for so long. This sounds kind of corny, but meeting him was almost like the equivalent of meeting a brother that you heard you had but never met for a long time."
Said Houston's Duffy, "He grounded out to me. The box score was pretty funny -- 'Matt Duffy to Matt Duffy.' "
Naturally, they root for each other. "I wish him the best," Houston's Matt said.
"It's always kind of cool when you see little funny stories like that around baseball," said the Giants' Duffy. "I do find myself looking him up on MiLB.com or whatever, to see how he's doing. Just once in a while -- not like every day, but once a month or so -- to see how he's holding up."