Bryce's big brother, Bryan Harper, signs contract with independent league team in Lancaster

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There is a guy named Harper who recently signed on to play professional baseball in Pennsylvania.

But he is not playing for the Phillies, he is a pitcher, and his first name is Bryan.

He also happens to be Bryce Harper's older brother, who brags about being among the first people to know about his little brother's mega-deal with Philadelphia.

He says, "I was excited. You know, he walked into my room and told me what he was going to do and I was like, 'Alright, good for you, man.' I was like, 'I'm pumped up. There are 330 million reasons to be pumped, right?'"

Bryan and Bryce were actually both once part of the Washington Nationals organization.

But while Bryce took-off into super-stardom, Bryan's career path has not been quite as smooth.

Then, in 2016, he underwent Tommy John surgery and is only now getting back to 100% with dreams of getting back to the big leagues.

Bryce says he always knew Bryan was a fighter.

The Phillies superstar says, "I'm excited for him. It's nice to see him kind of go down his own path, do his own thing. That is the best part about it."

We asked the 29-year-old Harper, who just signed with the independent league Lancaster Barnstormers, if there is any sibling rivalry at-play as his brother went on to become a six-time All-Star.

Bryan says, honestly, that's just life in the Harper family, "He's been doing it forever, man. He has been in the limelight since he was 16 so it's nothing new for me."

And then you have the instant love affair between Bryce and Phillies fans.

Bryan says Bryce is a blue-collar guy, and Philadelphia is his kind of town.

"We love that passion that Phillies fans bring and Bryce, he's in that honeymoon phase right now, but he's enjoying it," says Bryan.

When Action News asked Bryan about the prospect of, some day, playing with Bryce in South Philadelphia he said, "That would be cool."
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.