This story appears in FCA Magazine’s May/June 2018 issue.
Chase Headley Born:
May 9, 1984 Hometown:
Pacific & Tennessee Position:
Third baseman MLB Debut:
June 15, 2007
National League Silver Slugger (2012) •
Gold Glove Award (2012) •
Led the National League with 115 RBI (2012)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
Like every little leaguer, I had dreams of playing in the big leagues. And, just like every other kid, I also dreamed of going pro in every sport and competition imaginable. Whether it was baseball, football, basketball, soccer, skiing, hunting or fishing, my older brother and I were doing it and competing to be the best while growing up in Fountain, Colorado.
Aside from family church attendance on Christmas and Easter, Christianity wasn’t really part of my childhood. During my freshman year of high school, one of my best friends invited me to an FCA meeting. God had a plan for me to be there that night. He worked on my heart during the message about salvation, and it was there, at FCA, that I prayed to accept Christ into my life and begin a relationship with Him.
That decision forever changed my life. I continued to attend FCA meetings, and the relationships I formed with people — both friends and teachers who were believers — poured into my faith and were big contributors to my spiritual growth.
At the same time, I was excelling on the baseball field so much that I had the chance to play in college. I moved west to California for my first season at Pacific before transferring to Tennessee my sophomore year.
I endured a couple of injuries during my college career, which proved to be spiritual gut-checks for me because I’d never had baseball taken away from me. I really struggled with it, realizing that my identity was completely wrapped up in athletics. God used my injuries to shape me and teach me that there are a lot of things in life that are more important than what happens on the baseball field — first and foremost, developing my relationship with Him.
My injuries healed, and I was blessed to be selected in the second round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. I was so close to realizing my childhood dream of playing in the big leagues, but I first had to endure the grind of the minor leagues. Those years were tough — not making much money and long bus trips at night. I relied heavily on my faith and commitment to the Lord to help me make good decisions and be a light for Him to my teammates during my time in the minors.
All the hard work was worth it, though, when I made my Major League debut June 15, 2007. My first stint with the Padres lasted just several days, but it made me even more driven to get back. After starting in the minors in 2008, I was called up several months into the season and have been playing in the big leagues — both with the Padres and New York Yankees — ever since.
In 2012, I had the best season of my career and was humbled and blessed to be able to win both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award. I felt God’s favor upon me during the season, keeping me healthy and productive for the team.
Looking back on my life and career, I know that God is the only reason I am where I am today. He has chosen to put me here to share His love with others. I understand I have a huge platform as a professional athlete, so I try to use it to share my faith through my actions, how I handle adversity on the field, and in the words I speak to the media and fans.
I have also come to understand how important it is to be surrounded by men who can be trusted to hold one another accountable and be there for one another through the difficult times that will inevitably occur. We enjoy being able to gather together and challenge one another in God’s Word at Sunday chapels and Bible studies both at home and on the road.
I’m blessed to be able to play this game. I enjoy every moment I’m on the field because I know it won’t last forever. When the day comes that I have to step away from the game, I hope people say I made an impact for the Lord by playing the game with passion, and that I was bold in my witness for Him.
Photos courtesy of the San Diego Padres.