CHICAGO -- Adam Eaton knew that his brother, Zachary, was in town and coming to Saturday afternoon's White Sox contest with the Orioles at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox center fielder had no idea his brother, who also is a captain in the United States Air Force, would be one of the honored military men to take the field prior to the first pitch as part of the organization's Fourth of July celebration. In fact, there was Zachary in center as Eaton ran out to his position.
Seeing his older brother by 14 months brought a tear to Eaton's eyes.
"That was a little shocking when I first came out," said Eaton after the White Sox hung on for a 3-2 victory and their fourth straight win. "It was something special for me.
"I'm glad, however it transpired, the White Sox got in touch with him or however it happened, I'm very blessed that it happened. I'm just very proud of him and his accomplishments. He's a great brother and a great role model."
Eaton comes from a military family in which both his mother and father served in the Army. Zachary was named the U.S. Air Force Company Grade Officer of the Quarter for the Norwest Region, achieving the Humanitarian Service Medal for his Tornado Relief efforts in Oklahoma and the Organizational Excellence Award for squadron performance.
When the brothers met in center, they shared a long hug. But Eaton, who was a bit choked up talking about this special moment postgame, smiled and said he didn't really remember what he said upon seeing his brother.
"I was on the brink of a tear," Eaton said. "I grew up in a military family and you realize the sacrifices that the family and individuals alike go through, and you know we are blessed to play this great game every day and you know he helps defend the country.
"For him to be here on this day and kind of stand in the same spot that I'm blessed enough to stand in and have a conversation with him, it was special. He's a very intelligent person. Goes about his craft very seriously and with the accolades of being an officer, he's done very well for himself."