LEAWOOD, Kan. — The picture defining Bret Saberhagen used to be the 21-year-old jumping into George Brett’s arms after winning the 1985 World Series as a member of the Kansas City Royals.
Now, the 59-year-old Saberhagen has a new picture to define his life. It’s a photo of him with his two siblings — a half-brother and half-sister he didn’t know existed until November 2022.
After a DNA test, Saberhagen discovered his true father was a man named Robert Spuhler, not Robert Saberhagen, who helped raise Saberhagen alongside his biological mother, but mostly estranged the family.
“I was just excited about meeting them for the first time,” Saberhagen said, relaying the story from a hotel in Leawood.
The 1985 World Series MVP splits his time between California and Colorado.
But in March 2023, he visited the Chicago area — not far from where he grew up — to meet the siblings he never knew he had.
Saberhagen’s biological parents and Robert Saberhagen have all passed away, so he was never able to meet his true father nor ask his mother questions about their relationship.
“I went from an only child to brother and sister and a huge family, which is amazing,” Saberhagen said.
The first reunion between siblings lasted about nine hours. Saberhagen said everything about meeting his siblings — and their mother, his stepmother — felt right.
“It’s kind of like we’ve known each other forever instead of just less than a year,” he said.
Saberhagen said he speaks with his siblings regularly.
His wife Kandace, said Saberhagen wants to know more about his true father, who died at age 28 when a lightning bolt struck him on a golf course.
“I think the greatest thing we took away from it was that he (Saberhagen’s biological father, Robert Spuhler) was a really great man — a devoted husband, a charismatic father," Kandace said. "Those are all the traits Bret already has."
Saberhagen wants to give the Spuhler name recognition, but doesn’t plan to legally change his name to Spuhler. Cy Young Awards won’t need any modifications.
Saberhagen will bring his siblings to Kansas City for a fundraiser for his nonprofit SabesWings on June 11-12. The events are open to the public.
Country music singer Tyler Farr will perform June 11 and Saberhagen will host a golf tournament June 12 at the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate in Overland Park.
SabesWings raises money to offset bills for families fighting cancer. The agency’s website has information about how to donate.