Religion is a big part of sport all over the world as lots of young kids look up to professional athletes hoping to one day be in there position and see them as role models. Baseball is a sport where people connect from all over the world some have different colour skin, different religion and faith but in the MLB there are many players who are practicing Christians. These days the MLB is more culturally diverse than ever before. 30% of current players were born outside of America. Players and fans come together at the ballpark and leave their differences behind and come together as one.
Baseball is a game of failure. The season is long as it has 162 games full of emotion as they play every day. Great hitters have a batting average of .300 which means you only get a safe hit 3 out of 10 times you go up to bat meaning you fail 70% of the time. Failing is a part of the game, everyone fails. The thing that determines good players from a great player is they was the respond in there next opportunity. Some players rely on God to get them through hard times as many players say a prayer before a game or before an at bat but one thing you will notice when watching a game is the amount of players wearing a chain with a cross or some sort of religious symbol around their neck. Another things some players do is acknowledge God’s presence after the hit a homerun and go to step on home plate. Some players thank God for every win and say a prayer before each game and pray for someone when they get hurt.
The Oakland athletics coach in the 70’s was one of the first people to link baseball and religion together he said “The similarities between baseball and religion abound. The ballpark as cathedral; saints and sinners; the curses and blessings. But then what I’m arguing is beyond that surface level, there’s a fundamental similarity between baseball and religion which goes to the capacity of baseball to cause human beings, in a context they don’t think of as religious, to break the plane of ordinary existence into the plane of extraordinary existence.”
Many baseballers use prayers to help them through this long season but not all of them are Christians. There are many different religions in the sport. A few of these big names including clayton Kershaw one of the best pitchers of all time, Francisco Lindor one of the best shortstops in the league, Mookie Betts last year’s MVP, José Altuve finals MVP two years ago, Christian Yelich last year’s MVP. There are many more these are just the ones from the top 20 current ranked players but the two biggest of all time are Jackie Robinson and Albert Pujols.
For example Albert Pujols who is one of the greatest players of the 2000’s is a practicing Christian. Albert Pujols is a MLB first baseman from the Dominican republic who will soon be in the baseball hall of fame. He has said in an interview leading up to his retirement at the end of this year that “god has helped me through life and baseball and I wouldn’t be the man I am today without god helping me”
Albert Pujols has been playing in the MLB for 19 years and has a batting average of .301 in 10,560 at bats with 3,170 hits and 651 home runs. He is a 3X MVP, won rookie of the year, also a 10X all-star 2X gold glove first baseman, 6X silver slugger, won the batting title and has also won two world series with the cardinals.
Albert Pujols was raised by his grandma and had barley any contact with his parents growing up as his parents got divorced at a very young age. So he went and lived with his dad but only a few years later his dad became an alcoholic so his grandma took him under her belt. He and his grandma attended church every Sunday together before his baseball game. Pujols once said “becoming a great baseball player is important to me but it’s not my primary focus because I know the hall of fame isn’t my ultimate final destination. My life goal is to bring glory to Jesus. God has given me the ability to succeed in the game I love.” This shows how much he has dedicated his life to God and is thanking him for the ability god gave him.
Another player that was extremely religious was Jackie Robinson. he was the one who ended segregation in baseball he was the first African American MLB player in 1947 playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie Robinson was racially targeted through his whole career one of his more famous quotes was ‘I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.’ And ‘I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect.’ After he was receiving death threats and racial taunts. The racial comments weren’t just coming from the fans but from the other team as the St. Louis Cardinals they weren’t going to play against an African American player and teams were chanting “Hey, you black N*****” and “Why don’t you go back where you came from?” were two things he remembered getting chanted all throughout his first years. He pushed through these extremely hard frighted times he prayed every day for success and equality. He refused to play games on Sunday as this day for him was dedicated to god. Jackie Robinson was very successful when in 1950 he won region’s Most Valuable and the year before that won the league MVP. He is also on the hall of fame and there is a day dedicated to him in baseball.