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.”