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New Braves pitcher Collin McHugh credits hometown team for shaping his career

NORTH PORT, Fla. — For Atlanta’s new relief pitcher Collin McHugh, an Braves uniform is one that he is used to wearing.

McHugh was born in Chicago, but his parents moved to Lilburn when he was six and quickly became a Braves fan.

His love of the Braves never stopped.

“Six-year-old me just freaked out. I’ve been a Braves fan as long as I have been a baseball fan, which has been a long time,” McHugh told Channel 2′s Zach Klein.

“There is a lot of whom I am today because the Braves were competitive when I growing up. To feel this full circle arc of my career is a little surreal.”

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Over the span of two days, the Braves signed McHugh and fellow Gwinnett County native Matt Olson to deals. McHugh agreed to a 2-year, $10 million contract to return home to Atlanta.

McHugh said the first call he made was to his wife and then his mother. He said his mom was speechless because of her deep-seated passion for the Braves, too.

“I remember sitting in living room watching the Sid Bream round third, he slides in safe. My mom freaks out, throws her hands up in the air and smokes my dad right in the face. I was like I think she just broke his nose. It was pandemonium,” McHugh recalled.

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McHugh said from that moment on, all he cared about was watching the Braves.

In fact, he wore the No. 31 as a kid because of Greg Maddux. He tried to emulate his pitching style after Tom Glavine. One time, he even waited for an hour at a Krystal’s restaurant to get John Smoltz’ autograph.

McHugh said he is living the dream and can’t believe he is getting paid to pitch for his hometown team.

“I am the baseball player I am because of watching all those guys. To be part of this storied organization in place we are right now with the momentum built, I couldn’t ask for a better spot to land,” McHugh said.

Over the last four seasons, McHugh has been part of teams that have won 100 games or more all four seasons. He is hoping for a fifth straight 100+ win season this time with the Braves.

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