Travis Fryman knows what it is like to achieve great success-and still be miserable. It happened to him in 1994 when the five-time All Star third baseman was having the best year of his career. "I knew what the problem was," said Fryman. "I was playing tug of war with the Holy Spirit and that's a losing battle. So that winter I surrendered my life to Christ and from that point on, most of my growth as a believer has happened."
Fryman first accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at a backyard Bible study when he was seven years old. However, he did not know what it meant to fully commit give his life to the Lord until that 1994 season. "It's a matter of systematically turning new areas of my life over to Christ and trusting God's plan for my life, to trust Him and walk by faith. Slowly, I'm relinquishing things that I do on my own strength," added Fryman.
Rebounding from an injury plagued 1999 season, Fryman answered with his best year in a Major League career that has spanned more than a decade. In 2000, Fryman notched career high's in batting average (.321), hits (184) and runs batted in (106). His fielding percentage of .978, a Major League best, earned him his first Gold Glove Award. This time, Fryman handled his earthly success differently. "How I handle success and failure is a direct reflection of my relationship with God," said Fryman. "Many times, success is harder to deal with than failure. Frankly because most of us, myself included, have had a lot more practice dealing with failure than we have success. As a Christian, wherever you are, Christ is with you."
Fryman credits much of his growth as a Christian to a league-wide program called Baseball Chapel, which is, basically, church for ballplayers, consisting of non-denominational pre-game services. From being a player who was ministered to through Baseball Chapel, Fryman is now a member of its Board of Directors. Seeing God open doors to share his faith with his fellow ballplayers excites Fryman more than smashing a game-winning homerun ever could. "I'm not a ballplayer who happens to be a Christian," said Fryman. "I'm a Christian who happens to be a ballplayer."
Doug Greengard is the host/producer of the Christian Sports Minute, a radio feature airing on nearly 300 stations in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the website at ww.christiansportsminute.com.