'A momentous weekend': Lowe brothers facing each other for first time in Majors

June 10th, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG -- It took a little math for David Lowe to fully appreciate what took place Friday night at Tropicana Field.

There are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. Most of them carry 13 position players. That means there are about 390 hitters currently playing at the sport’s highest level in the world.

“Two of those,” David said, “are my kids.”

Those two kids, Texas first baseman and Tampa Bay outfielder , will share a big league field this weekend for the first time. They stood alongside their parents, David and Wendy, before the Rays defeated the Rangers, 8-3, on Friday night at Tropicana Field to discuss what Josh called an “awesome moment” that they will share with the 100-plus family and friends who came to be part of it.

“It is a momentous weekend, and we are making lifelong memories with the friends and the family that are here, and the ones that can’t be here are already glued to the TV,” Wendy said. “We’re just overjoyed to be here.”

The Lowes were prepared for the occasion. David wore a polo shirt featuring both clubs’ logos. Wendy donned a split “LOWE” jersey, half Rays and half Rangers, with “Joshua” written above the Rays logo (and Josh’s No. 15) and “Nathaniel” over the Rangers logo and his No. 30.

“It's just an awesome moment to be here on the field with my parents, my brother. It's something we've dreamed about since being little kids, being on a Major League field,” Josh said. “We never knew we'd be on the same Major League field. It's just an awesome moment.”

Older brother Nathaniel, 27, was in the lineup for the American League West-leading Rangers on Friday night, batting third and playing first base. Younger brother Josh, 25, might have to wait until Saturday for his turn, as Rays manager Kevin Cash set sentimentality aside and prioritized the platoon advantage by not starting the left-handed hitter against Texas lefty Andrew Heaney.

It was actually Nathaniel who noted the irony of the moment on Friday afternoon. The Rays had only faced a left-handed starter in 12 of their first 65 games this season, but they’re slated to face two this weekend. Cash said he was “sensitive” to the idea of starting Josh, especially since the Rays optioned him to Triple-A Durham on May 2 last year, four weeks before the brothers would have met in Arlington. 

Needless to say, Josh was available off the bench -- and eager to contribute -- on Friday night.

“And I hope Josh can impact all three games, whether he's starting or not,” Cash said.

What might Josh say to his brother if he finds his way to Nathaniel’s post at first base at some point? Nathaniel said they’ll figure it out in the moment rather than scripting a conversation. 

Josh had other ideas.

“I hope to be running by first base,” he said, smiling.

This isn’t the first time the Lowe brothers have shared the same field, of course. They were actually teammates in Tampa Bay’s system after being selected in the 2016 Draft, with Josh going 13th overall and Nathaniel in the 13th round. They were teammates for Class-A Bowling Green in 2017 and the Rays’ former High-A Charlotte affiliate in ‘18.

Nathaniel debuted for the Rays in 2019, only to be traded to the Rangers for three prospects in December 2020 and break out for Texas with a 27-homer campaign last year.

Josh made a cameo in the Majors at the end of the ‘21 campaign and had an up-and-down ‘22 before seemingly establishing himself this season.

Now, here they are, together.

“To have a moment come to fruition like this after so many years of hard work and dedication, not from just the both of us, but these two and then the entire group,” Nathaniel said. “There's so many people that we owe thank-yous to, to get to this point. … It's a real blessing.”

It’s not just a series pitting brother against brother, of course. It’s a matchup between clubs with the best records in baseball, headlined by two outstanding lineups that owe some of their early season success to the Lowe brothers.

“It’s going to be great baseball games this weekend,” Nathaniel said, “and I hope the Rangers win all three.”

Countered Josh: “The two best teams in the American League going at it this weekend, it’s going to be some awesome baseball -- and I can’t wait for the Rays to win all three games.”

David and Wendy shared a different perspective.

“Regardless,” David said, “the Lowe family wins.”