5 Steps to Win at Life as Told by MLB Stars

Doug Bender

October 08, 2019 | 3 minute read

Sports is all about winning, but life isn’t. If you spend your life just trying to beat the person next to you, you’re missing it. These baseball stars learned the secrets of success on and off the field.

Trust the Manager

“I can’t try anymore, because I failed on my own. You do with me what you want to do with me, but I surrender.” -Josh Hamilton

“The more you try and grip control of your life, the more God’s going to untangle that from you. He’s going to make things go to where you have to rely on him.” -Clayton Kershaw

“The knuckleball can be a metaphor of what it’s like to let go.” -R.A. Dickey

The first thing each of these guys will tell you is: “Trust God.” He is in control. The quicker you realize that the easier the ride is going to be. Dickey’s knuckleball metaphor is particularly helpful. The knuckleball is a pitch designed to move erratically across the plate. Even the pitcher can’t be sure of exactly where the ball will end up once he lets go. You have to just trust your training and let the ball do its thing. That’s exactly what they have learned about God. He is life’s ultimate manager. Trust his training, his plan, his lineup for life, and let him worry about where things land. He’s got a better plan than us anyways.


Win the Right Game

“For me, it’s about the legacy you leave off the field. It’s about how many people can I affect through the platform that he gave me.” -Clayton Kershaw

“I don’t have to worry about going 0 for 4 or having a terrible game or being in a slump, because that’s not the big picture or the most important thing.” -David Murphy

“I thought it was all about me, until I found someone to fill a hole I had in me.” -Albert Pujols

Real success is not coming out on top. It’s living second. All these guys learned early in their careers that whatever they achieve on the field won’t last. Someone will hit one more homerun, throw one more no hitter, or win one more award. If these are all you want out of life, you will be disappointed. Nothing you can win in this life lasts. True success is what reverberates in the lives of the people around you. That is the game that God is watching. Win at that one. And the awards he gives, don’t rust, rot, or get forgotten.

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Don’t Argue with the Ump

I was sitting in a driveway, with a rubber hose duct taped to the exhaust pipe. My hand was on the key. The only thing that saved me in that moment was that feeling that God was sitting right beside me whispering to me, “I’ve got something else for you.” -RA Dickey

I had a hole in my heart and I figured out that the only thing that could fill that void was Jesus. -David Murphy

“I was tired of chasing the wind, these temporary satisfactions that I was having.” -Chris Coghlan

We’ve all looked back on a decision and said, “What was I thinking?” In the moment, it feels right. It made sense. But God has a better plan than what we can manage on our own. Life is plenty complicated without trying to out-think the creator himself. He doesn’t just judge over the rules of our lives, he wrote the rules. He designed us to function and thrive in a certain way. That way is his way. There’s no use arguing with the Ump.


Take the Free Base

“I know I’m making mistakes all the time. That’s why we need Him.” -Paul Goldschmidt

I went down a path of destruction. I got suspended from baseball. It wasn’t because of anybody else, it was because of the way I was living. -Josh Hamilton

One of my all-time favorite films features Josh Hamilton. It’s the quintessential story of redemption. A man who has it all, goes down the path of destruction and loses it all. But God is the kind to always grant another chance, to give that free base. He had his ups and downs when he starred with the Texas Rangers and he has had them since leaving baseball. If you are wondering, if God still has enough forgiveness to handle you, you need to check out Josh’s story. The only way to really thrive at life is to know that no matter what, no matter your mistakes or failures, God still has your back.


Take Advice from the Veterans

I started going through the Bible and going to church. I wanted what other people had at church, that joy, that passion, and that love. I wanted that. I felt that I had an empty hole that I needed to fill. I wanted to change my life. -Albert Pujols

“I started reading Proverbs. Whether you are a believer or not, there’s so much truth in those sayings.” -Paul Goldschmidt

Everyone one of these guys had someone in their life that spoke truth into them. If you want to get somewhere in life, get directions from someone who has already been there. The Bible has the ultimate storehouse of truths. Passed down, preserved, and tested for thousands of years, the writings contained there prove themselves new every generation. But if you have your ears open, God will also put people in your life to give you tips and pointers on how to really win at life. If you are saying, “I don’t have anyone like that in my life.” Then let us help you out. Connect with a Live Coach HERE, and don’t worry, it’s free.

Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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