Baseball and Integrity: 1 of 4

        I mentioned the other day (reflections on baseball, steroids and integrity) some baseball players that inspired me as a kid.  I thought I’d take a few days to focus on baseball, which is really a lot like faith and life and the Gospel- (but I’ll save that for another post).  I couldn’t understand it then, but I realize now that in the game of baseball my heroes were Philippians 2:19-30 sort of guys- faithful in adversity, loyal and selfless in their dedication, and always building others up.  Here’s the reason why these guys inspired me:

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        Jackie Robinson- Most people will agree that Jackie Robinson is the most historically significant baseball player ever (see http://www.baseballlibrary.com).  Nicknamed “the Great Experiment,” he was the first man to break the color barrier in professional baseball… and he did it with his talent and character.  In 1948 he was chosen as the Rookie of the Year- an award which is now named after him.  He went on to become one of the greatest players of the 1950’s, paving the way for other greats like Willie Mays and Ernie Banks.  Although many people tried to discredit him, no one could (Philippians 1:14-15)- his character and persona were too blameless, his work too immaculate.  Robinson is one of only a few players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.  When Joe Black, a formidable player himself, spoke at Robinson’s funeral in 1972, he said “When I look at my house… I say, ‘Thank God for Jackie Robinson.’” (Philippians 1:3)

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