After helping the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 8–7 in Game 7 with a crucial hit driving home the go-ahead run in the last inning, Ben Zobrist was awarded the World Series Most Valuable Player Award and a new Chevrolet Camaro convertible, but he says that his true prize comes through his faith and sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
Winning a World Series ring for the second year in a row after being traded by the Kansas City Royals, the utility player is no stranger to success in the Major Leagues, yet he knows where his strength and victory in life truly comes from.
While a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, where he spent most of his 10-year MLB career since his rookie season in 2006, Zobrist shared about his huge responsibility as a Christian witness on and off the baseball diamond – where all eyes are focused. He says that as a Christian, he is called to be set apart from other players because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross for him.
"We know that as a Christian athlete, people are watching, and so we want to be the best example we can be and show that we are different – that Christ has changed our lives," Zobrist told the sports ministry Fellowship of Christian Athletes during the 2013 season.
One thing that baseball fans noticed this season that distinguishes him from others is his walk-up song played before each at-bat, which is the up-tempo contemporary Christian tune, “Alive,” sung by his wife, Christian singer Julianna Zobrist.
The faithful couple share about their careers and faith journeys in the book Playing with Purpose: Inside the Lives and Faith of the Major Leagues’ Top Players, which was published in 2014 by the Christian publisher Broadman & Holman.
Zobrist says he wants to share with the world that it desperately needs something only God can offer.
"But at the same time, I want people to know that grace is for everyone,” Zobrist stressed, according to The Christian Examiner. “We all need grace. We all need Christ."
Work in progress
Even though Zobrist can boast of playing on the first Chicago Cubs team to win a World Series in more than a century (since 1908), he insists that he is still a work in progress that is being perfected in Christ.
"The biggest thing is, I'm still learning," Zobrist expressed about his faith.
Growing up as a pastor’s son has helped him take a humble approach to his Christian walk.
His father, Tom Zobrist – who serves as the senior pastor at Liberty Bible Church in Eureka, Illinois, located in the same state as the Cubs’ home, Wrigley Field – also enjoyed America’s pastime while playing college baseball for Dallas Baptist. On his Twitter account, he refers to himself as a devoted “follower of Jesus Christ.”
The multi-talented baseball player – who has played seven of the nine defensive positions since he debuted as a rookie more than a decade ago – has much to brag about regarding his accomplishments in the Majors, where he has made the All-Star team three times. While on the Cubs roster this year, he has played five positions and was ranked number 13 in the Majors with a .386 on-base percentage, which earned him a starting role in the lineup for each of the seven World Series games against the Indians.
However, despite Zobrist’s many accomplishments on the field, it has been his off-the field actions that have attracted many fans, and when it comes to his life as a born-again Christian, he contends that God is still teaching him things on a daily basis.
"The biggest things is, I'm still learning," Zobrist expressed about his Christian faith. "I still have a lot to learn about what the love of Christ is like – that it's not just knowledge ... but it's allowing the truth to change you – allowing Christ's message of grace and hope and love through the cross, that that message is the message that changes the way we look at everything in our lives."