Jurrjens' father thrilled that he's in Atlanta
Family were Braves fans before righty debuted with club
ATLANTA -- Just six years old, Jair Jurrjens didn't possess the stamina to stay awake throughout Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series. But when Sid Bream slid home with the winning run, the youngster was awoken by the jubilation expressed by his father.
Three years later, Carl Jurrjens would once again wake his youngest son with a scream that followed David Justice's solo homer in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series.
Baseball has always been a part of the Jurrjens family tradition and long before native son Andruw Jones began roaming center field in Atlanta, their Curacao household had developed a passion for the Braves.
Thus they have celebrated many memorable October moments with the Braves. The most recent occurred on Oct. 29, 2007, when Jair had the pleasure of calling his father to tell him that the Tigers had just traded him to the Braves.
"I called and told him that he no longer had to root for two teams," Jair said. "Before I could even finish explaining the details, he was calling my mother to let her know what had happened."
Fast forward two years to the present and Carl Jurrjens finds himself in a position to gain a true Father's Day treat on Sunday, when Jair is scheduled to start for the Braves during their series finale against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
"He's so happy that I'm with the Braves," Jair said. "Now he just wants us to get back to those days when we were making the playoffs all of the time."
An avid athlete, Carl played baseball during his youth and continued to play softball during his adult years. But his playing days decreased after returning from a softball tournament in Aruba to find his oldest son, Carl Sr., sleeping with the medallion that he'd gained while participating in one of his earliest years of baseball.
"My brother just wanted my dad to see that medallion when he got home and when my dad saw it, he decided he wasn't going to let his games stop him from watching his kids play," Jair said.
While helping coach some of Jair's youth teams, Carl never attempted to place any excess pressure on his youngest son. But the advanced maturity that has benefitted the Braves during the past two seasons was likely a product of the discipline that he preached.
"He never pressured me to play or do anything on the field," Jair said. "He just always taught me that you have to always give 100 percent and be disciplined with everything that you do while you're playing. He and my mother did a good job of teaching discipline to me and my brother and my sister."
This discipline proved to be important when a 17-year-old Jair was forced to deal with the inevitable struggles that he'd encounter while playing Rookie Level ball for the Tigers. Along with being away from home for an extended period for the first time in his life, he had to prove why he had rejected offers from other teams that envisioned him as an outfielder.
With parental support coming via numerous phone calls, Jair shot his way through the Detroit Minor League system and found his father present in Cleveland on Aug. 15, 2007, when he tossed seven innings during his Major League debut against the Indians.
Carl has already made one trip to Atlanta this year and plans to make at least one more in the months that follow. Whenever he arrives, he's provided the gift of watching his son in that same role that was once performed by Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and the other great Braves pitchers that he's religiously followed over the course of the past two decades.
"When I was young my dad just wanted me to play hard, and that's what I try to do every time I go out there to pitch," Jair said.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.