Major League Baseball Pitcher, Billy Wagner: Sold-Out to God (Gospel Light Minute #166)

Billy Wagner
Billy Wagner

He is a former major league baseball relief pitcher. Nicknamed “Billy the Kid”, he pitched for the Houston Astros from 1995 to 2003, the Philadelphia Phillies from 2004 to 2005, the New York Mets from 2006 to 2009, the Boston Red Sox in 2009, and the Atlanta Braves in 2010. He is one of the few relief pitchers with a total of 400 saves in his career. In 2012, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Seven times he was selected to All-Star teams, and in 2003, he pitched a combined no-hitter.

Though he was born right-handed, after breaking his right arm twice in accidents as a child, he taught himself to throw baseballs using his left arm. Raised in his grandparent’s Christian home, he accepted Jesus Christ into his life at age 12. In an interview with CBN, he said, “I was saved when I was, I believe I was 12 years old. My grandparents had that kind of work ethic and religion and faith that kinda kept me on track.”

When he began playing with his left arm, he said, “God has given me a left arm that has given me a pedestal to be someone that can help [people] better themselves in the faith. Being a Christian I’ve been able to sit there and say [that] this is a learning experience. I said some things when I was out on the mound, I acted in a way when I was out on the mound that is not what God had wanted, but being able to be forgiven and to repent shows that that is what being a Christian is all about.”

“Baseball is just fantasy. It’s a short-lived life, and I have a long life with God. That’s most important, and if I take that for granted, everything that He has graced me with, He can take away. God wants you to be competitive for Him too, so being competitive is the easy part. It’s the balance of knowing who you are and what you want to be. Once I realized as an athlete what was important and what wasn’t, then, I think you’re able to sell out to God.”

He went on to say, “I live a very blessed and graced life with what He’s blessed me to have. So when I think of my career I think solely of what God has given me and blessed me with, and know that [while I’m retired now] I get to go home and live a second chapter that is blessed. My biggest goal and what I want people to see in me is that I love the Lord and He’s the answer. He’s the way, and He’s the rock. All you have to do is lean on Him and know you don’t have to worry. He’s gonna give you that peace.”

His name is Billy Wagner. Continue reading “Major League Baseball Pitcher, Billy Wagner: Sold-Out to God (Gospel Light Minute #166)”

Adrian Gonzalez: ‘Christ is What You Are Searching For’ (Gospel Light Minute #158)

Adrian Gonzalez
Adrian Gonzalez

He is a professional baseball first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was picked first overall in the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft by the Florida Marlins. Before the Dodgers, he played for the Texas Rangers from 2004-2005, the San Diego Padres from 2006-2010, and the Boston Red Sox from 2011-2012. He was named Most Valuable Player four times in 2008-2011. He won the Silver Slugger Award in 2011 and the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2008, 2009, and 2011. Together with his wife, they created a Foundation, which is focused on empowering underprivileged youth in areas of athletics, education and health.

In an interview with BeyondtheUltimate.org, he said of his faith, “I grew up going to church two to three times a month, but never really got to know the [Bible] or have a relationship with Christ. In 2003, just being around a bunch of guys who are [Christians] on the team, and going to baseball chapels and Bible studies off the field, I really started wanting that relationship and started trying to understand what it was about. My wife, Betsy, had a strong relationship [with Christ] at the time, so as a married couple we decided we should have our relationship with the Lord be the foundation of our marriage. Since [Betsy and I] have been in baseball, we put ourselves around people who will help us grow in our relationship with the Lord. It’s in the Bible that belief in Christ is what you are searching for and need. For us, Christ really has transformed our lives and we couldn’t be any happier, we are content with whatever happens. We look toward Christ to fulfill us.”

He went further to say, “[Christ has given me] a different perspective in life – in my marriage, in my attitude on the field, and in everything else, including [trying to be] the best husband to my wife as possible and striving to be the best person I can be. You see yourself in a different position. You don’t put yourself first, you put yourself last. That’s [something] I never thought I could do until I became a [Christian]. Now I try to live [as God would have me to live] every day and to let others see [that] so others can come to Christ. Anytime I can share in public, I try to take advantage of that as Christ would want me to do. I try to do what I can to lead others to Christ. I have success in baseball, but I know that is because of the Lord. I know my preparing and my hard work definitely play a part, but it would not be done without Christ.”

His name is Adrian Gonzalez.

Carlos Baerga: How Giving his Life to Christ Saved him from Losing his Family and Destroying his Life (Gospel Light Minute #97)

[audio http://gospellightminute.buzzsprout.com/3192/90798-carlos-baerga-how-giving-his-life-to-christ-saved-him-from-losing-his-family-and-destroying-his-life-gospel-light-minute-97.mp3]
Carlos Baerga
Carlos Baerga

He is a former Major League Baseball player who played from 1990 to 2005. He spent most of his career as a second baseman, before moving to various positions later in his life. He has played for the New York Mets, the Cleveland Indians, the Boston Red Sox, and Washington Nationals among others. He was selected to the All-Stars three times in 1992, 1993, and 1995 and won the Silver Slugger Award two times in 1993 and 1994.

From the time he started playing, he had rapid success in baseball. He said in a CBN interview, “My career was going way up, and that was the moment that I really forgot about God — the God who gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues. I used to be a super star. Everything was so good for me that I wanted to keep living that life.” All of his wanting for more got him just that – more drinking, more partying, more women. Little did he know, however that getting more also would cost him his family. He said, “I almost lost my family. I didn’t know the damage I was doing to myself. When you walk without God, you can be hurt at anytime.”

After several heart-to-heart conversations with a close friend, he finally understood that there was no place else to turn and rededicated his life to Jesus Christ. He said, “We’re human. We go through those moments in life that we forget about God. We think that we are Superman, that we can do things without Him. We have to realize that we cannot do anything without Him. He’s the best feeling that you can have in life. When you put everything in God’s hands, there is nothing that you can not do. He gives you the life, He gives you everything. Thank God I still have my family with me.”

Now that he is retired, he seeks to help other baseball players get on the right path with God. He said, “[The guys playing now] are the ones that need to know the words of God. Right now what I’m trying to do is to talk to the guys more about God. You know, that’s the second chance God gave me. We are here for a reason: to spread the words of God.” His name is Carlos Baerga.