Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Matthew, Mark, Luke,...Frank???

Anyone familiar with getting autographs through the mail knows that Frank Tanana is one of the best when it comes to signing cards and returning them to you.  He also will include his favorite bible verses and often a testimonial card from

As a player, Frank has quite an impressive resume:
1971 - First round draft pick
1974 - Rookie of the Year
1976 - Led the league in strikeouts
1976, 1977, and 1978 All-star selection
League leader in shutouts
League leader in lowest ERA

What do you do when you are blessed with all this talent and success? Be humble and devote your life to spreading the word of God. I can only imagine the tens of 1000's of autographs he has shared so the best thing I can do is look them up, read them, and share them.  God Bless!

 John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. Therefore, whoever shall believe in him shall not perish, but have everlasting and eternal life.

John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."

John 14:21
"Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my father and I too will love them and show myself to them."

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Short Stop, Long Road, Leap of Faith

Spring Training - 1987 - Port Charlotte, Florida.
As a 13 year old kid, I remember running up to Scott Fletcher to get his autograph on a baseball card.  After he signed it, I looked at the bible verse: John 3:16.  This is probably something he had written many times before and has written many times since, but something struck me.  I KNEW that bible verse.  It wasn't just words, it had meaning.  I had memorized it at church and here was someone who had nothing to do with my church, but made a connection!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.  Therefore, whoever shall believe in him shall everlasting and eternal life". John 3:16

As I looked around at other autographs, I realized there were other players who used the same verse.  Greg Gagne, an important member of the 1987 World Champion Twins also put the verse on his card.

Tim Foli, yet another shortstop, added his Romans 8:28 bible verse. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have benn called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28

Defensively, a baseball team needs to be strong up the middle.  Maybe the same thing can be said for a Christian.  I doubt anyone has been hurt by a baseball player writing a bible verse on their baseball card, but I am sure some have been helped by it!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Moses Batting Cleanup, Lazarus On The Mound

Alright, Moses and Lazarus are not future 1st round draft picks, I'm referring to the men from the bible.  Nothing is as pure as baseball and apple pie.  The bible tells us "Create in me a pure heart, O God".
Some athletes take this to heart.  They use their fame and celebrity as a baseball player to help spread the word of God.  They volunteer to speak to youth, donate money, and even write bible verses on baseball cards when they sign autographs.  Signing an autograph with a bible verse certainly never hurt anybody, but who knows when it will have helped.

Some baseball players are well known for including a bible verse with their signature.  I have created an All-Star team of talented baseball players who had very successful careers, but also share their faith when signing autographs.

Catcher - Gary Carter. Unfortunately, cancer took him away from us much too soon, but he will always be well known for being a great offensive and defensive catcher as well as a team leader.
First base - John Olerud.  Batting champ, 2x World Series champion, and smooth with the glove. Also, surprisingly a fair amount of power with over 250 career homers.
Second base - Harold Reynolds.  Many of the younger fans know him for his commentary on ESPN and the MLB network, but Harold was a great mixture of speed, power, average, and defense during an era when many second baseman were limited.
Short Stop - Jimmy Rollins.  This was probably my "homer" pick since I am a Phillies fan.  Who can argue his 2007 and 2008 seasons?

Third base - Kelly Gruber / Kevin Seitzer This was a toss up, so I had to go with both of them.  In the late 80's and early 90's, both players were very productive players who played in a summer classic (All-Star game).

 Outfield - 2 Superstars and 1 really good guy!  Bryce Harper, Josh Hamilton, and Oddibe McDowell.  Bryce may not write as many verses on his cards nowadays, but the guy signs quite a bit these days!  Josh Hamilton has certainly battled issues in his life, but no one can question his talent.  Oddibe was a member of the 1984 USA team and had a good career with the Braves and Rangers.

 DH - Albert Pujols.  Unless you have been under a rock for the past 12 years or on the planet Mars with Matt Damon, you undoubtedly know this 1st ballot HOF player.  Not only is his big on promoting his faith, but he owns a Latin Christian Radio Station!

Pitchers - Frank Tanana, Mark Langston, and Doug Jones
Although Tanana was a little before my time, I was surprised to see what an outstanding career he had in the 70's with multiple All star appearances as well as votes for the Cy Young!  Langston was a dominant pitcher in the late 80's and certainly someone you'd be willing to hand the ball to in any big game.  Doug Jones battled hard spending many years in the minors before becoming successful in the majors at the young old age of 30!

 I know God doesn't really care who wins a baseball game, but don't you think he might be smiling a little wider when they guys took the field!