Happ will share all-star experience with childhood teammate

Willson Contreras has a unique all-star story with his younger brother William also named a National League starter.

The Cubs other all-star, Ian Happ, also has an interesting connection. Pirates all-star pitcher Will Bednar was a youth baseball teammate.

"We grew up in the same township, so we were eight years old playing on a local travel ball team," Happ said. "He moved out the next year, but we got one year and his dad was one of our coaches. Pretty cool."

Happ grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon. Bednar didn't move far, but went to high school north of the city in Valencia, Pa.

"I sent him a text," Happ said. "We kind of reminisced for a minute about just how cool that is. All those years of work you put in kind of come full circle like that."

While talking about his journey from slump-riddled 2021 to all-star in 2022, Happ credited teammate Jason Heyward for helping get through the tough times.

"There's so much that goes into it. There's so much that goes into why that was happening last year," Happ said. "Jason Heyward was kind of in the middle of it ... talking through things, working through mental stuff and getting to this point. A big part of that turnaround.

"I'm pretty fortunate to have that hard work lead me to this spot. There are a lot of guys who are working hard every single day. Super humbling to be a part of that (all-star) group."

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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