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29 July 2002

Figueroa twins offer double trouble to opposition

When you took a look at players on the UM baseball team this past season, you may have thought you needed your eyes checked. The Hurricanes have a pair of identical twins on their squad – identical in both their appearance and their play on the field.

Danny and Paco Figueroa have been playing baseball together since little league and they are not about to stop now. The two 5-10, 165-pound freshmen were both new additions to the Hurricanes.

“Our mom put us together from the beginning and that’s how it has always been,” Paco said.

The brothers attended Gulliver Prep School in Miami and grew up following the UM baseball team. The fact that both boys are now attending UM is no accident.

“We always knew that wherever we went, we would go together,” Paco said. “Some schools would call up asking for just Danny and others for me, but right from the start UM called us up saying they wanted to take us both.”

UM is not the first team to make an offer to both brothers. The Atlanta Braves drafted Paco in the 42nd round followed by his brother Danny in the 48th round.

“This is a dream for me,” Danny said. “With us playing close to home it makes it easy for our parents to come see the games, which is nice for us.”

The brothers noted that being identical twins is great but it’s not always easy.

“Everybody always asked me, ‘What is it like to be a twin?’ and I always ask them in return what is it like to just be yourself,” Danny said. “There is a huge competition factor in everything we do.”

Said Paco: “One time we even came home from school with our high school report cards in which we had taken all the same classes and got the exact same grades in every course.”

With high school in the past the twins have begun another chapter of their lives together in Coral Gables.

The twins performed as advertised in their first season as Hurricanes. Danny played most of the year in center field while Paco started the year playing behind fellow freshman Joey Hooft at second base. When the ‘Canes began to tailspin in midseason, head coach Jim Morris shuffled the lineup, allowing Paco to step in as a starter at shortstop while shifting Javy Rodriguez over to second.

The twins contributed throughout and gained some wonderful experience in the process. At playoff time, they were ready, helping to propel the .500 team to within three outs of another College World Series appearance.

After UM knocked off Florida in the Regionals, Danny commented on the win.

“From what everyone in the stands was talking, about this was one of the best, if not the best double headers ever played by these two teams,” Danny said. “I wasn’t on last year’s National Championship team, but I can begin to understand the emotion that must have felt winning the title. It was if we had won it all out there today.”

On the season, both Danny and Paco had an identical .300 batting average. Danny drove in 16 runs, while Paco hit three home runs on his way to 20 RBI for the season.

Paco says that after coming so close to a CWS appearance, the experience should definitely pay off.

“I’ve had a taste at winning, and now I have a thirst for it,” Paco said. “I learned quite a bit from our juniors and seniors this past couple of weekends. I saw University of Miami baseball rise to the challenge. I saw the meaning of a new season. I saw dedication and hard work pay off. This off season, I plan to work harder than ever, and maybe, just maybe I’ll see for myself what Omaha is like.”

Expect the twins to do more damage next year.