As every big league player knows, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it to the majors.
That was especially true for me from the moment I signed with the Seattle Mariners right out of high school in 1978.
Growing up in New York City, I enjoyed a successful prep career in baseball and basketball. I earned All-City and Second team All-American honors on the diamond and played on two city championship teams in basketball at Holy Cross High School.
Then I was drafted by the Mariners and assigned to Bellingham, WA where I struggled in my first year of professional ball. Things weren't much better the following year at Alexandria, WA. After two dismal minor league seasons, my self-worth plunged to an all-time low. With my career in a downward spiral, I wondered what would I do with the rest of my life if I wasn't successful in baseball.
In the fall of 1979 I went to the Instructional League in Tempe, AZ and roomed with a player by the name of Dave Elder. You might say we "hung out" together, and as Dave lived out his life in front of me, I could plainly see that there was something different about him. He had real peace and a true purpose for living. What was the key to his contentment? It was knowing God in a personal way though a relationship with Jesus Christ. He showed me in the Bible that god loved us and had a plan for our lives -- a good plan!
I needed peace and hope in my life, so I decided to put my faith in Jesus. I simply asked Him to forgive me of all the things I had done wrong and asked Him to give my life meaning and direction.
Before I made that decision in 1979, I thought I was a good person. I had come from a Catholic background and knew who god was, but when I started to grow in my relationship with Jesus by reading the Bible, praying and surrounding myself with Christian friends, I quickly learned the difference between "head" knowledge and "heart" knowledge. It wasn't enough to know God intellectually. I needed Him in my heart where He could guide my life.
Once I made that important decision, God began to show me the things that didn't belong in my life including drugs and alcohol. Those things would only lead me on a path to total destruction.
God also brought people into my life to help me grow spiritually. He blessed me with a beautiful wife and family, and He gave me a brand new perspective on the game of baseball. I began to realize that setbacks were opportunities for comebacks and that God was using the low points to build me character.
After five more seasons in the minors, I finally got the call to the major league level at the end of the 1984 season. The next two years were unstable, but I persevered and came up to stay in 1987.
As a professional athlete, life can be a roller coaster. I've experienced all sorts of highs and lows, but through it all God has been with me, and he has given me real joy, genuine peace and strength to face some of life's darkest moments.
If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click the button on the left side of your screen to change your life.