Called Up: Stories of Life and Faith from the Great Game of Baseball [NOOK Book]

Overview

During eight seasons of major league baseball, pitcher Dave Dravecky learned more than the importance of getting ahead in the count or wasting a pitch when he had the batter in the hole with an 0-2 count. Baseball taught him lessons he could apply to his life and his relationship with God. That’s what Called Up is about.

In this fast-moving and compelling book, Dravecky retells classic baseball stories and introduces readers to some of ...
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Called Up: Stories of Life and Faith from the Great Game of Baseball

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Overview

During eight seasons of major league baseball, pitcher Dave Dravecky learned more than the importance of getting ahead in the count or wasting a pitch when he had the batter in the hole with an 0-2 count. Baseball taught him lessons he could apply to his life and his relationship with God. That’s what Called Up is about.

In this fast-moving and compelling book, Dravecky retells classic baseball stories and introduces readers to some of baseball’s greatest players—and characters. Taking you inside the game, his insights will prompt you to think. You’ll actually feel the tension, for instance, as you relive the final three outs in Sandy Koufax’s electrifying no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs in 1965. And as you consider the huge odds Koufax faced, you’ll be encouraged about your own performance in this pressure-cooker world. In life, unlike baseball, no one pitches a no-hitter—and thanks to God’s grace, you don’t have to.

Filled with well-researched stories and spiritual insights, along with hilarious quotes from the players, Called Up also tells you about:

• Branch Rickey’s secret ambition to integrate Major League baseball
• how Jackie Robinson’s faith sustained him in 1947, the year he broke the color barrier
• why freezing Ted Williams’ body so he can one day be resurrected doesn’t make sense
• the wit, wisdom, and spiritual truths behind Yogi Berra’s sayings
• Dravecky’s all-time, all-century, best-ever All-Star team
• the challenges Dravecky faced living out his Christian faith in front of his teammates

God doesn’t waste any pitches when it comes to teaching you about life from the game of baseball. You’ll love the breezy stories, the quick applications, the timeless thoughts and funny quotes in Called Up. Are you ready for the first pitch? Good—because the umpire is yelling, “Play ball!”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310871590
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 874,250
  • File size: 822 KB

Meet the Author

Dave Dravecky is the best-selling author of eight inspirational books, including his gripping story, Comeback. He and his wife, Jan, live in Denver, Colorado, where Endurance, his ministry to encourage those who are facing serious illness, loss or depression, is located.

Mike Yorkey is an author, coauthor, and collaborator living in Encinitas, California, with more than seventy books to his credit. His most recent book is Believe: The Eric LeGrand Story, the story of Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed from the neck down on a kickoff play in 2010. He has collaborated with former San Francisco Giant pitcher Dave Dravecky and tennis star Michael Chang, and he has also written for numerous sports magazines. His website is www.mikeyorkey.com.


 

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Read an Excerpt

Called Up
Copyright © 2004 by Dave Dravecky and Mike Yorkey Creative Services, Inc.

Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Dravecky, Dave. Called up: stories of life and faith from the great game of baseball / by Dave Dravecky with Mike Yorkey. - 1st ed. P. cm. Includes index. ISBN 0-310-25230-X 1. Christian life. 2. Baseball - Religious aspects - Christianity. I. Yorkey, Mike. II. Title. BV4501.3 .D73 2003 242'.68 - dc22 2003022952 CIP

This edition printed on acid-free paper.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. The website addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as a resource to you. These websites are not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement on the part of Zondervan, nor do we vouch for their content for the life of this book.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other - except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.

Published in association with the literary agency of Alive Communications, Inc., 7680 Goddard Street, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.

Interior design by Michelle Espinoza

Printed in the United States of America

04 05 06 07 08 09 /. DC/ 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 21

LEADING OFF 1
The one player I hated to see step into the batter's box was Tim Raines, a speedy shortstop who played much of his career with the Montreal Expos. Tim did not swing a home-run bat, but he was a line-drive hitter who could hit for average, beat out ground balls for base hits, and regularly turn singles into doubles when the outfielder didn't hustle to cut off the ball.
Tim was one of the best base-stealers of my era. If you walked him or held him to a single, he was a threat to steal second and third because of his blazing speed and uncanny timing. Everyone knew that his coaches gave him the green light when he roamed the base paths. Tim was such a base-stealing threat that my coaches continually harped on me to keep him close. "Give the catcher a chance to throw him out," they said.
Tim worked hard to get into the head of the pitcher once he took his lead. I know he tried to get into mine. My number-one priority was to get the hitter out, but when I took my stretch and watched Tim inch his way to a bigger and bigger lead, I was supremely aware that he was a huge threat to go at any time.
Tim knew that I knew that he knew he could steal second base just about any time he wanted to. He also knew that he had flustered hundreds of pitchers over the years to the point of distraction. Distracted pitchers "lose" the next batter by giving up a base on balls or delivering a fat pitch that results in a "gapper" all the way to the wall. Believe me, you give Tim Raines a running start, and he could score standing up on an extra-base hit.
That's why I concentrated very hard when Tim took his lead off first base. I focused on the job at hand: keep Tim close, stay ahead in the count, and make good pitches. Don't make a mistake. Keep your focus.
I've tried to keep that single-minded focus in my Christian life. Focusing on God's Word has become so important to me that I work hard not to be distracted. I do that through prayer, fellowship, and regularly reading God's Word. I'm not perfect in these areas, not by a long shot. But these are all things we can do on a consistent basis, which will help us not be distracted by the everyday happenings of life.
What do you do to remain focused in your Christian life? Are you reading your Bible each day? Attending church consistently every Sunday? Participating in a weekly Bible study, especially a men's group? Don't forget: Satan knows that you know that he knows he can distract you with the "busyness" of life. If the Great Deceiver can distract your spiritual attention away from God's Word and fellowship with other believers, he can run wild on your base paths.
Nope, you never want Satan even to reach first base. Punch him out with your best pitch - a single-minded desire to follow Jesus Christ.
Belonging to the Chatter Class
When the San Diego Padres called me up in 1982, I felt as if I was the greenest rookie ever to put on a big league uniform. For the first couple of weeks, I tiptoed around the clubhouse as if I didn't belong there. I kept my head down and my mouth shut.
Once the game started, however, I wanted to help out the team anyway I could, so I cheered from the bench. I guess I could still hear my old Little League coach bellowing, "Let's hear some chatter, guys."
So I chattered. I yelled at the opposing pitcher ("You're losing it, Two-Nine!") and jumped up whenever one of our guys made a great play or stroked a big hit. I was first in line to shake the hand and slap the back of our home-run hitters. In those days, the high-five, bashing forearms, or rapping knuckles hadn't been invented yet.
I guess my cheerleading bothered a few of my "cooler" teammates. One time, shortstop Garry Templeton - one of the flashier players in the game - eyed me after one of my leather-lunged outbursts.
"Dave, calm down," he ordered. "You're in the big leagues now."
I felt every teammate's eyes boring down on me.
"Sure, Tempy," I mumbled. "Anything you say."
Later that night, however, I began to have second thoughts. Wasn't I playing a kid's game? Wasn't it funner to play baseball that way? What's wrong with having a good time at the old ballpark?
I decided that I would have a "kid's game" attitude for as long as I was in the big leagues. Of course, I tempered my enthusiasm whenever Tempy was in the neighborhood, but by golly, I would keep up the chatter.
And I sure had fun doing it.
They Said It
"I bleed Dodger blue and when I die, I'm going to the big Dodger in the sky." - Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles Dodgers manager
"Wait until Tommy meets the Lord and finds out that he's wearing pinstripes." - Gaylord Perry, Hall of Fame pitcher
A SAD SHOW 2
Baseball fans think that when major league ballplayers leave the game - or are handed their pink slips - that we traipse off to our winter retirement homes in Arizona, kick off the shoes, and watch ESPN SportsCenter around the clock.
Believe me, even listening to Chris Berman say "back-backback- back" can get old. For most people, loafing around is okay for a few months, but most of us are eager to do something, whether it's opening a pizza parlor or starting up a Web site that sells gum chewed by Luis Gonzalez and Sammy Sosa.
Once the cheering stops and you have to reenter the "real world," it can be difficult to adapt, even if you have millions in the bank to comfort the blow. Some struggle more than others. Some of my former teammates didn't handle the post-baseball years very well. Alan Wiggins, a second baseman-turned-junkie, died of AIDS after being infected by a needle. Pitcher La Marr Hoyt was arrested at the Mexican border with a trunk full of drugs. John "The Count" Montefusco was arraigned before a judge for beating up his wife.
Then there's the sad tale of Eric Show (rhymes with pow), who was a pretty good pitcher in his day, winning more games in a Padre uniform than anyone in franchise history. When I was called up to The Show for the first time in 1982, one of the first persons to greet me was Eric Show. As far as I was concerned, Eric was a borderline genius, who not only knew the Bible inside and out but could expound on philosophers such as Kant, Hegel, Freud, and Kierkegaard. He was an accomplished jazz musician who self-produced several albums. He liked to think big thoughts and study God's Word intensely. I was a new Christian at the time - and a lightweight when it came to heavy thinking - but this charismatic pitcher took me under his wing even though I had nothing to offer him.
When we were on the road with time to kill, Eric invited me and a fellow pitcher, Mark Thurmond, to study the Bible with him. Those were some intense sessions. Articulate and self-assured, he could preach without notes at our Sunday Baseball Chapels or share his testimony on cue before church and community groups. Eric was such a natural born leader that I never minded when he challenged me to live a deeper life for God. As I said, he was one studly Christian.
Yet for all his biblical knowledge and leadership acumen, Eric was a hurting individual. No one, not even I or my teammates, knew he was struggling with drugs. Eric couldn't let his guard down, lest anyone think he wasn't the person that everyone thought him to be.
No one knows when Eric started abusing heroin and cocaine, but he had a couple of bizarre episodes after he left the Padres. The Oakland A's cut him after he couldn't explain why he showed up to training camp with nasty cuts on both hands. At the age of thirty-four,
Eric was out of baseball.
It was a huge shock to hear the tragic news on a March day in 1994: Eric Show was found dead in his bed, the victim of a massive heart attack after taking a "speedball" - a toxic mixture of heroin and cocaine. He was only thirty-seven years old. The newspapers made hay out of the story, taking great lengths to point out that Super Joe Christian was just another junkie. A total hypocrite. Someone who wasn't what he said he was.
Those things weren't true. I was devastated to hear of Eric's death because I was so close to him. We'll never know who the demons were that Eric couldn't get out. They kept the rally going by stepping up to the plate and feasting on what he was serving up. With each extra-base hit, Eric felt more and more alone, until he believed he was the only one left on the field battling those demons.
I'm sorry that Eric never asked for bullpen relief from his friends. I would have loved to do anything I could to be there for him. If he had only owned up to the gravity of the situation, I'm sure that someone in his life or myself would have tried to help him. I take away three lessons from Eric Show's sad story:
1. If you're hurting, don't be afraid to ask for help. Give others the opportunity to pick up for you.
2. Be available to those who hurt. Ask God to direct you to friends and to give you the right words to say.
3. Develop friendships with friends with whom you can openly share your heart. Eric didn't have those types of friendships, and it cost him his life.
Moonshot
In 1963, baseball pitcher and lousy hitter Gaylord Perry told the assembled media, "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run."
On July 20, 1969, a few hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Gaylord Perry hit his first, and only, home run.
God sure has a sense of humor.
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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Introduction 9

1. Leading Off 13
2. A Sad Show 16
3. Step on a Line, and You’re Doing Fine 19
4. The Underground Tapes 24
5. You Can’t Fake It 28
6. Twenty-Seven Outs 31
7. He’s Your Best Friend 35
8. Like Father, Like Son 39
9. What Scouts Can’t Measure 42
10. Baseball’s Scufflaws 44
11. What’s in a Name? 51
12. Go Warm Up, Seamhead 55
13. We’re All Winners 61
14. The Gods of the Game 64
15. Freezer Burn 70
16. My Big Fat Greek Miracle 74
17. Take Me Out to the Bank Before You Take Me Out to the Ball Game 80
18. Big Brother Is Watching 85
19. A Look at the Babe 87
20. The Curse on the Angels 95
21. Baseball Age 98
22. May I Take Your Order? 103
23. Chasing My Dreams 106
24. Throwing Slang a Curve 111
25. The Wit and Wisdom of Yogi Berra 113
26. Out for a Walk 118
27. Take Your Base, Son 122
28. Breaking Down Walls 125
29. Sign Me Up 127
30. Greener Pastures 133
31. Take Me Out to the Balf Game . . . 135
32. The Solomon-Like Decision 140
33. Don’t Look Back 145
34. The Feared Closer 151
35. Closing the Deal 154
36. The Hollywood Darling 158
37. Family Feud 161
38. Baseball and Poetic License 170
39. Playing on the “God Squad” 174
40. The Bible of Baseball 179
41. An Angel on the Mound 183
42. Pete Gray: The One-Armed Wonder 189
43. Wartime Baseball 195
44. Say It Ain’t So, Pete 204
45. The Natural 211
46. The Day the Earth Shook in a World Serious Way 216
47. Branch Rickey’s Secret Ambition 224
48. The Jackie Robinson Story 235
49. Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio? 241

Subject Index 247

Name Index 251
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First Chapter

Called Up

LEADING OFF 1
The one player I hated to see step into the batter's box was Tim Raines, a speedy shortstop who played much of his career with the Montreal Expos. Tim did not swing a home-run bat, but he was a line-drive hitter who could hit for average, beat out ground balls for base hits, and regularly turn singles into doubles when the outfielder didn't hustle to cut off the ball.
Tim was one of the best base-stealers of my era. If you walked him or held him to a single, he was a threat to steal second and third because of his blazing speed and uncanny timing. Everyone knew that his coaches gave him the green light when he roamed the base paths. Tim was such a base-stealing threat that my coaches continually harped on me to keep him close. 'Give the catcher a chance to throw him out,' they said.
Tim worked hard to get into the head of the pitcher once he took his lead. I know he tried to get into mine. My number-one priority was to get the hitter out, but when I took my stretch and watched Tim inch his way to a bigger and bigger lead, I was supremely aware that he was a huge threat to go at any time.
Tim knew that I knew that he knew he could steal second base just about any time he wanted to. He also knew that he had flustered hundreds of pitchers over the years to the point of distraction. Distracted pitchers 'lose' the next batter by giving up a base on balls or delivering a fat pitch that results in a 'gapper' all the way to the wall. Believe me, you give Tim Raines a running start, and he could score standing up on an extra-base hit.
That's why I concentrated very hard when Tim took his lead off first base. I focused on the job at hand: keep Tim close, stay ahead in the count, and make good pitches. Don't make a mistake. Keep your focus.
I've tried to keep that single-minded focus in my Christian life. Focusing on God's Word has become so important to me that I work hard not to be distracted. I do that through prayer, fellowship, and regularly reading God's Word. I'm not perfect in these areas, not by a long shot. But these are all things we can do on a consistent basis, which will help us not be distracted by the everyday happenings of life.
What do you do to remain focused in your Christian life? Are you reading your Bible each day? Attending church consistently every Sunday? Participating in a weekly Bible study, especially a men's group? Don't forget: Satan knows that you know that he knows he can distract you with the 'busyness' of life. If the Great Deceiver can distract your spiritual attention away from God's Word and fellowship with other believers, he can run wild on your base paths.
Nope, you never want Satan even to reach first base. Punch him out with your best pitch---a single-minded desire to follow Jesus Christ.
Belonging to the Chatter Class
When the San Diego Padres called me up in 1982, I felt as if I was the greenest rookie ever to put on a big league uniform. For the first couple of weeks, I tiptoed around the clubhouse as if I didn't belong there. I kept my head down and my mouth shut.
Once the game started, however, I wanted to help out the team anyway I could, so I cheered from the bench. I guess I could still hear my old Little League coach bellowing, 'Let's hear some chatter, guys.'
So I chattered. I yelled at the opposing pitcher ('You're losing it, Two-Nine!') and jumped up whenever one of our guys made a great play or stroked a big hit. I was first in line to shake the hand and slap the back of our home-run hitters. In those days, the high-five, bashing forearms, or rapping knuckles hadn't been invented yet.
I guess my cheerleading bothered a few of my 'cooler' teammates. One time, shortstop Garry Templeton---one of the flashier players in the game---eyed me after one of my leather-lunged outbursts.
'Dave, calm down,' he ordered. 'You're in the big leagues now.'
I felt every teammate's eyes boring down on me.
'Sure, Tempy,' I mumbled. 'Anything you say.'
Later that night, however, I began to have second thoughts. Wasn't I playing a kid's game? Wasn't it funner to play baseball that way? What's wrong with having a good time at the old ballpark?
I decided that I would have a 'kid's game' attitude for as long as I was in the big leagues. Of course, I tempered my enthusiasm whenever Tempy was in the neighborhood, but by golly, I would keep up the chatter.
And I sure had fun doing it.
They Said It
'I bleed Dodger blue and when I die, I'm going to the big Dodger in the sky.' ---Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles Dodgers manager
'Wait until Tommy meets the Lord and finds out that he's wearing pinstripes.' ---Gaylord Perry, Hall of Fame pitcher
A SAD SHOW 2
Baseball fans think that when major league ballplayers leave the game---or are handed their pink slips---that we traipse off to our winter retirement homes in Arizona, kick off the shoes, and watch ESPN SportsCenter around the clock.
Believe me, even listening to Chris Berman say 'back-backback- back' can get old. For most people, loafing around is okay for a few months, but most of us are eager to do something, whether it's opening a pizza parlor or starting up a Web site that sells gum chewed by Luis Gonzalez and Sammy Sosa.
Once the cheering stops and you have to reenter the 'real world,' it can be difficult to adapt, even if you have millions in the bank to comfort the blow. Some struggle more than others. Some of my former teammates didn't handle the post-baseball years very well. Alan Wiggins, a second baseman-turned-junkie, died of AIDS after being infected by a needle. Pitcher La Marr Hoyt was arrested at the Mexican border with a trunk full of drugs. John 'The Count' Montefusco was arraigned before a judge for beating up his wife.
Then there's the sad tale of Eric Show1 (rhymes with pow), who was a pretty good pitcher in his day, winning more games in a Padre uniform than anyone in franchise history. When I was called up to The Show for the first time in 1982, one of the first persons to greet me was Eric Show. As far as I was concerned, Eric was a borderline genius, who not only knew the Bible inside and out but could expound on philosophers such as Kant, Hegel, Freud, and Kierkegaard. He was an accomplished jazz musician who self-produced several albums. He liked to think big thoughts and study God's Word intensely. I was a new Christian at the time---and a lightweight when it came to heavy thinking---but this charismatic pitcher took me under his wing even though I had nothing to offer him.
When we were on the road with time to kill, Eric invited me and a fellow pitcher, Mark Thurmond, to study the Bible with him. Those were some intense sessions. Articulate and self-assured, he could preach without notes at our Sunday Baseball Chapels or share his testimony on cue before church and community groups. Eric was such a natural born leader that I never minded when he challenged me to live a deeper life for God. As I said, he was one studly Christian.
Yet for all his biblical knowledge and leadership acumen, Eric was a hurting individual. No one, not even I or my teammates, knew he was struggling with drugs. Eric couldn't let his guard down, lest anyone think he wasn't the person that everyone thought him to be.
No one knows when Eric started abusing heroin and cocaine, but he had a couple of bizarre episodes after he left the Padres. The Oakland A's cut him after he couldn't explain why he showed up to training camp with nasty cuts on both hands. At the age of thirtyfour,
Eric was out of baseball.
It was a huge shock to hear the tragic news on a March day in 1994: Eric Show was found dead in his bed, the victim of a massive heart attack after taking a 'speedball'---a toxic mixture of heroin and cocaine. He was only thirty-seven years old.

Read More Show Less

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