Mike is a former professional baseball first baseman and third baseman, holding the title of all time home run leader in the minor leagues. He is currently the hitting coach for the Connecticut Tigers.
Five Increase Questions
What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?
My faith affects my every day decisions. In every situation I rely on my faith in God, whether that is on the field or off. Christ is my solid foundation. In pro baseball, people really have their eyes on you, waiting for you to mess up. When that happens, I point to Christ and look to Him for strength. Others can see that not perfect and need Christ in my life, just like anybody else.
Describe how your Journey with Christ began.
I grew up in a Catholic high school and was able to get involved in some campus ministries which was a good experience for me. But when I started to get into pro ball, I fell away from the faith a bit. It wasn’t until I entered the AAA league, around 2002, that I rededicated my life to Christ and was able to get plugged into some great communities of believers to challenge me in my faith. I got to a point where I was able to say to God, “I love baseball, but it’s Your’s. If you want to take it away, you can have it.” Christ was more important.
Who have been the mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?
Tim Cash, previously the Chaplain for the Atlanta Braves, was a huge mentor and encouragement to me during the start of my Pro career. My local South Carolina pastor, John Holmes, has been a great friend and leader for me and my family. He’s been there for us during all the travel and games and stress of life. Now, his two boys are stepping onto the professional baseball field for themselves and I have the chance to be a good role model and mentor for them.
What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?
I want people to see Christ through the way I live. Baseball is often about the players and who looks the best but I want to highlight Him in my life so that others may come to know Him. The clubhouse environment can be challenging but it seems to me that the number of believers in the clubhouse has increased over the past few years and that is so encouraging.
What is your life verse and why?
There are two passages that I really cling to. James 1: 2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Perseverance is huge in life. How do I handle each situation that comes my way? I focus on the fact that God has a plan and I want to be joyful in all things. The other verse to go along with the passage in James that I really appreciate is Proverbs 15.9, which says, “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves him who pursues righteousness.” This confirms that God has a rhyme and reason for everything and His plan is better than any plan that I could come up with. This challenges me to lean on and trust in God for all things.