Whether they want to be or not, Major League Baseball players are role models …it’s up to them whether they’re going to be good or bad ones.
There are many MLB champions of the faith and the field, and here are just a handful, starting with a role model who will hang up his hat this month at the end of the regular season.
Mariano Rivera – New York Yankees
Rivera’s last game with the New York Yankees, after a 19-season career, will be September 26, 2013. Rivera helped the Yankees earn five World Series titles, was named MVP of this year’s All-Star Game and he is highly revered in Major League Baseball as one of the game’s most exemplary Christian athletes. He’s a six-time Cy Young Award candidate, an eight-time MVP candidate and a 13-time All Star. He has given God the glory for all of his accomplishments and success in baseball.
Rivera is one of many Christian athletes in the MLB. Below you will find some more active status soldiers for Jesus Christ and their testimony:
Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels
Pujols is the Los Angeles Angels’ 33-year-old first baseman and a follower of Jesus Christ. He was the 2001 Rookie of the Year, a nine-time All Star, a 12-time MVP candidate (won three times), a six-time Silver Slugger and a two-time Golden Glove Award winner. He is also the MLB’s first athlete to bat at least least .300 with 30 or more home runs and 100 or more runs batted in in his first 10 seasons. He’s just four home runs shy of 500, two RBIs short of 1,500 has a career .321 batting average and is a great role model for young baseball fans.
My life’s goal is to bring glory to Jesus. My life is not mostly dedicated to the Lord, it is 100 percent committed to Jesus Christ and His will. God has given me the ability to succeed in the game of baseball … Baseball is simply my platform to elevate Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
Torii Hunter – Detroit Tigers
This five-time All Star and 38-year-old outfielder for the Detroit Tigers has nine Gold Glove Awards, a Silver Slugger Award five All-Star Game appearances, a four-time MVP candidate and a huge heart.
As he thinks in his heart, so is he —Proverbs 23:7.
I knew that I needed to change my thinking so that I could begin my journey from a boy to a man of God. On November 15, 1996, I received Jesus Christ into my heart … Now, I carry God’s Word in my heart and whenever trouble comes, God’s Word is my shield. I have a relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I strive to bring Him glory in all that I do.
Carlos Beltran – St. Louis Cardinals
Beltran is a 36-year-old native of Puerto Rico and plays the outfield for the St. Louis Cardinals. He won Rookie of the Year in 1999 and is a seven-time MVP candidate, eight-time All Star and three-time Golden Glove Award winner. He keeps a special Bible verse in mind each and every time he steps onto the baseball field.
Every time I take the field I think of my favorite verse: I can do all things through him who strengthens me –Philippians 4:13. I tell Him, “I’m doing this in Your name.” I don’t worry about so many things, I play to please God and if I have a good game I give the glory to God. If I have a bad game I continue to give Him the honor and glory because He has control over everything.
Jason Grilli – Pittsburgh Pirates
Grilli goes many funny nicknames, including “The Grill” and “Grilled Cheese,” but as the closing pitcher for the Pirates who made this year’s All-Star team and a devout Christian, he garners respect from teammates and fans alike.
As a Christian, now my life has meaning and purpose …Jesus Christ is my backbone, not my crutch. During my career, I have faced two major arm surgeries and a lot of physical therapy. By God’s grace, I have made it back to the major leagues and pitched in a World Series. Whether I am experiencing trials or triumphs, I am no longer alone as I go through life with Jesus Christ.
Lance Berkman – Texas Rangers
Berkman is a first baseman, an outfielder, a Christian, and proud of it. He won Rookie of the Year back in 2000, is a six-time All Star and a seven-time MVP candidate.
Playing in the major leagues is very challenging … Living the Christian life is also challenging but for different reasons. The same desire to do well exists – to live a consistent life that honors and pleases the Lord. The big difference is that God isn’t evaluating my actions and basing His love on how well I “perform”. His love for me is unconditional. Even when I mess up He doesn’t threaten to trade me off His team.
Darin Downs – Detroit Tigers
At just 28 years old, Downs is a young southpaw MLB pitcher in his second year with the Detroit Tigers, but his faith in God proves he is wise beyond his years. A fluke accident strengthened his faith in the Lord.
I almost lost my life on the field when I was hit in the head by a line drive. Instantly, my speech was gone. I was terrified as I rode to the hospital in the back of an ambulance. And yet, as I lay on the stretcher, praying and holding the cross around my neck, I found peace and hope in knowing that God only could help me regardless of the outcome. Since then I have been applying the Lord’s Word in to my life, marriage and family.
Don Kelly – Detroit Tigers
This outfielder, first and third baseman for the Detroit Tigers player trusts in the Lord to see him through good times and bad, and has complete faith in His plans.
My life and priorities began to change when I fully yielded all areas of my life to Christ. I continue to try and live God’s will in my life, and it is always interesting to see how God has used certain experiences in life to mold me. Through good and through bad, I always try to fully trust in God’s plan for my life and to maximize the talents and gifts He’s given me for His glory.