Baseball star opens local ministry
Updated: 12/12/2007 04:58 PM
By: Cassie Safrit
CARY -- Josh Hamilton is known locally in Raleigh for his baseball prowess, but the former Athens Drive star and current Cincinnati Reds outfielder has a new goal in mind. He wants to use the platform of baseball to help share his faith in God with others.
Ii have a bigger purpose to serve than just baseball,” Hamilton said Wednesday, where in front of hundreds of fellow Christian men, he announced the formation of Triple Play Ministries.
"The main focus is to spread the word of God,” he said.
God has played an important role in Hamilton’s life over the past few years. Following a standout career in high school, Hamilton was the number one pick in the 1999 Major League Baseball draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
But a car accident, numerous injuries and then a prolonged battle with drug addiction very nearly cost him his once promising career and so much more.
"There's so many times I should have been in jail, or I should have killed somebody or killed myself,” Hamilton said, who by his own account went to drug rehabilitation centers eight times in a 3-year span.
But Hamilton says through the grace of God, support from his family and eventually the Reds, he now has another chance.
"I really believe that God's had his hands in this from the very beginning and it's just a great, great story,” explained Jerry Narron, a friend and mentor of Hamilton’s who served as the Reds interim head coach for most of last season.
For Hamilton, that chance is not only to play, but to help others by combining his two loves, baseball and the Lord.
“In the future I could do stuff with half way houses, rehabs,” he said, adding that both he and his wife, Katie, are excited about the possibilities of the ministry.
"Hopefully we're going to work with people from all walks of life and different professions, but the ultimate goal is to share Christ,” added Katie Hamilton.
And the community hopes to share in that, as well.
"I encourage all Cary citizens to lift josh up in prayer as he serves as a personal testament to God's goodness and mercy,” said Cary Mayor Ernie McAlister.
It's that goodness and mercy that Hamilton wants to share, on and off the field.
"I just got to keep it in perspective and remember that I'm not playing for myself but to glorify him,” Hamilton said.
Three local communities deemed Wednesday as "Josh Hamilton Day", and the Carolina Hurricanes planned to honor the local star Wednesday night at their game.