There is no mystery the Brown Brothers have a strong baseball lineage as their father Dan Brown is in The College of New Jersey Hall of Fame.
But the mother of the two Haddonfield High School baseball standouts was also a terrific athlete. Yes, Martha Cuzzupe was a star infielder for Bishop Eustace Prep on some powerhouse teams.
“That’s what she says,” Danny Brown, a senior who plays left, third and second base, said with a reverent laugh.
“She has told me many times,” said Chris, a sophomore pitcher and second baseman, also adding a loving laugh.
The Browns certainly have a lot to feel good about and laugh about these days. Both of the boys are playing major roles for Haddonfield, which is 4-1 after a 9-1 win over Haddon Township on Tuesday.
“This is unbelievable, especially the other day when Chris was pitching and Dan was on second and they beat West Deptford,” the father said about watching his sons play this year. “Chris had two strikeouts and Danny had a putout.”
Dan Brown, who pitched from 1984 to 1988 for the Lions, was inducted into TCNJ Hall of Fame in 2004. The right-hander was also chosen to the TCNJ’s All-decade team of 1980.
Brown signed out of college with the Orioles, reaching Double A Hagerstown. After his second rotator cuff tear, the former Lower Cape May ace put down the glove.
“He got me interested in baseball,” Danny, a two-year starter for the Bulldawgs, said about his dad.
Dan Brown recently retired from a decorated law enforcement career. Both of Brown’s grandfathers also served in law enforcement as did his uncle John Cuzzupe.
“I’ve seen my dad and the service he did and both my grandfathers were in the military,” Danny said. “I’ve grown up with my family serving, Its had a big impact on me.”
Last year, Brown was awarded the The Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award, which recognizes New Jersey high school juniors “who demonstrate outstanding performance in the areas of academics, athletics, community service, good citizenship and leadership.”
Two weeks ago, Danny announced he will attend Drexel University on a ROTC scholarship and he will major in architectural engineering.
But, before then, the Browns are hoping to build on the early success of this season.
In a 6-5 extra-inning win last week over West Deptford, the Brown Brothers combined to shut down the Eagles in the eighth inning and set the stage for Steve DiTomaso’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the inning.
Chris allowed just one hit in three innings of relief to pick up the win.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Chris said. “But to hear my teammate’s and friends congratulations made the win even better.”
Danny knocked in a two-run single in the third inning and then helped shut the door in the field.
“It was pretty cool, every other out was either me or Chris to finish off the game, so that was pretty cool,” Danny said. “And Steve hit a walk off homer, so that was pretty crazy.”
Playing on the same team again is also cool for the Brown Brothers.
“In Little League we played together two years in a row and one of the years we won the Little League championship and in Babe Ruth we played a few years and then middle school again, and now we are back,” Danny said. “We are just continuing and looking to add another championship and win the league.”
In this day of specialization in sports, the Brown Brothers are throwbacks. Both are all-around athletes.
Both Danny and Chris played football for the Bulldawgs.
Chris started at safety last year and Danny was a receiver and cornerback.
Danny also helped the Haddonfield swim team win the South Jersey Group C title with an individual win and a relay win.
The Brown Brothers are focused on helping Haddonfield coach Bob Bickel and the Bulldawgs improve on last season’s 24-5 campaign that ended in the South Jersey Group 2 quarterfinals. Only Danny Brown, Jonah Perna and Joe Loperfido are returning seniors.
Certainly, the Brown Brothers have made their mother and father proud while continuing their parents’ athletic legacy.
“I’ve been trying to tell them for years,” their mother said laughing about telling her sons of her softball glory days, “but they don’t believe me.”