ST. PETERSBURG -- When Players' Weekend rolls around starting Friday, Royals outfielder Brett Phillips will have "Maverick" on the back of his jersey."Everyone thinks it's because of 'Top Gun' and the character in that," Phillips said, "but it's not."The story of how Brett Phillips became known as Maverick starts when
ST. PETERSBURG -- When Players' Weekend rolls around starting Friday, Royals outfielder Brett Phillips will have "Maverick" on the back of his jersey.
"Everyone thinks it's because of 'Top Gun' and the character in that," Phillips said, "but it's not."
The story of how Brett Phillips became known as Maverick starts when his father, Brett, was young and a popular television series known as "Maverick," starring James Garner, aired. Garner's character was named Bret Maverick.
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"When my dad was younger, his dad used to call him Brett Maverick and then when my dad came of age to have a family, he wanted to name a child 'Brett Maverick Phillips," Phillips said. "So I was named that."
There was one problem, though.
"When I was younger, anytime my mom [Jody] or my sister [Brittany] would yell out 'Brett!' both my dad and I would answer," Phillips said. "So my mom said, 'This isn't going to work.' So they started calling me Maverick instead."
To this day, Phillips' family calls him Maverick, as do many of the coaches he grew up with.
"Now, I won't introduce myself as Maverick just because it sounds weird hearing me say it," Phillips said. "But having someone else say it to me, it sounds normal because I was called that all my life. I don't know, maybe I'll change it someday.
"I changed my Twitter handle to Maverick years ago. But it just doesn't sound right. Maybe if I just go by Mav, that would be different. Now, if people want to call me [Maverick] and it catches on, so be it."
Phillips expects to hear some Maverick cheers Monday night and during the rest of the series. Phillips grew up in nearby Seminole, Fla., and expects anywhere from 800 to 1,000 friends, family and supporters to show up, at least for Monday's game.
"My sister [Brittany] got an entire section to rent out," Phillips said. "This county [Pinellas] has really rallied behind me as someone they know and supported for a long time. So I went on Facebook and said I would be coming here to play the Rays. I was going to play here last year, but I got sent down right before the series and I was super disappointed.
"But anyway, I told everyone on Facebook I wouldn't be able to take care of everyone, but if I could get a section rented, who would be interested? That had like 850 likes on it and 350 comments from people saying they needed three or four tickets each. That kind of support is super nice. And my sister set it up. She's a big sister looking after her little bro."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.