The baseball rich history of the Detroit Tigers has brought to the Motor City many names that are destined for the hallowed walls of Cooperstown. But if there were a hall of fame for Christian Athletes, Then there needs to be a similar distinction for the Tigers who have had many notable people in their organization with very strong Christian testimonies.
Todd Jones, the closing pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, is a player that fits the criteria. His God given talent has helped him to grow into one of the most important roles of his life.
Baseball is important to Jones and he loves the game with the passion of a fan. However he understands the game as a student and also as a successful pitcher. The game of baseball in not the only thing that is important to him. There is more to this Major league Pitcher than his career. He has discovered through the Lord just how to put things in their proper perspective. His faithfulness has blessed Todd with one of the most successful seasons in his career.
Jones finished the 2000 Major league baseball season by receiving the Rolaids relief man of the year and by also was named by the Sporting news as the A.L.fireman of the year. Jones has improved and fine-tuned his game so much, that he will soon break a team record of 154 career saves set by Mike Henneman. Jones was also chosen to play in the 2000 Major League Baseball All Star Game near his home in Atlanta, Georgia.
"It says in the Bible that the Lord will not give you anything that you can not handle. Last season's success has taught me to be humble before the Lord with each and every accomplishment that comes my way."
Todd will be the first to tell you that it was the Lord that blessed him for the successful year.
Today, Jones's walk with the Lord happens on a daily basis. However, he can still recall a time where he needed some direction. God's timing is perfect and he will always send exactly what a person needs at just the right time. In Todd's case, it happened to be a man that Cleveland Indian fans are very familiar with, third baseman Travis Fryman.
"Travis has been a tremendous mentor to me. Not just me but everybody because he is one of the rare guys that walks what he talks." Said Jones "That is probably one of the biggest compliments that any Christian can receive. When nobody is looking he is still the same guy."
Fryman is also a man who takes his walk with the Lord very seriously. No matter where he has moved to during his baseball career, he has always placed God first before anything.
"I think that that is that is the primary role that I would like to lead in." Said Fryman "I used to think that the most important thing to me was to be a leader on the field and be the best out there but there came a time in my life where God opened my eyes and I soon began to realize that the type of leadership that He had in mind for me was to be a leader spiritually and he provided that opportunity for me while I was in Detroit."
Prior to meeting Travis in Detroit, Jones had accepted Jesus in the fall of 1991 alongside his wife and her parents. It was the start of something bigger that God had in store for him.
"I don't believe that I would still be in baseball if I had not been saved." Said Jones "The deeper that I get into my relationship with Jesus, I begin to realize just how truly awesome that he really is. It's amazing just what he has done in just a short time."
Even though Jones had already accepted Jesus, he still needed somebody to read, study, and memorize verses from the Bible with. And the life style of a ball player doesn't allow much time for anything like that. It wasn't long after he arrived in Detroit where he met Travis.
Fryman had taken it upon himself to make the time for all of those things and played host to all of them for his teammates. Jones took advantage of it and kept coming to learn more and more. It was one of many things that God put in place for the Tigers clubhouse to help them grow spiritually and professionally.
As with anything, there is a time where a person should separate from the others in order to continue that growth between that person and the Lord. The time was right in God's eyes and He knew that Todd and the others were ready.
Travis was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks and left behind a void because of all of the things that he took upon his self to do. It was evident that somebody needed to carry on for the good of the team.
Both Jones and fellow Teammate Damion Easley took on the new role for the good of the Team and continued the Bible studies and chapel services.
"We began to realize that if we didn't do these thing that nobody was going to take the initiative and continue it."
Jones has found out first hand that there are more important things in life than only baseball. The Lord has helped him to realize that He needs to be his first priority followed next by his wife and two children. The Career falls into place somewhere behind the first two. Jones states that he will retire from his baseball career once his oldest son turns ten years old.
"I am not going to let anything come between me and my family. They are the most important people in the world to me. The only measure of a man is what kind of father and husband you are."
Travis Fryman came to Cleveland through a trade with the Arizona for third baseman Matt Williams. Ironically, he found himself in a similar role in the Tribe clubhouse.
Travis is there for the Tribe players very much like he was there for everyone else as you see the influence that he has had in the locker room, you can understand just why God has chosen him in this role.
Jones and Fryman, who are American League Central Division rivals on the field, still remain the best of friends off the field and manage to keep in touch as often they can.
"Travis and I are great buddies and he is always looking out for me making sure that everything is ok. I need that because I'm just like everybody else and slide sometimes too. He is and always will be a special man."