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In The News: Clayton Kershaw

GettyImages_456865446Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw won nearly everything except a World Series ring this past baseball season.

The 25-year-old, who, along with wife Ellen, travels on mission trips to the Dominican Republic and Zambia, as well as to U.S. cities Dallas and Los Angeles each offseason, became the first National League player in 46 years to take home both the Cy Young Award (league’s top pitcher) and the MVP (best overall player).

“Wow,” Kershaw told media after hearing the announcement and becoming only the 11th player to ever win both. “I’m blown away right now.”

During the season, opposing batters were the ones blown away by Kershaw, who has been featured in Sports Spectrum in several exclusive interviews the past few years.

He threw a no-hitter this season, had a stretch of 41 scoreless innings, and he led the league in victories (he was 21-3), winning percentage (.875) and ERA (1.77), leading that category for the fourth straight year and becoming the first pitcher to ever do that. He also struck out 239 and walked only 31.

The Cy Young Award, which Kershaw won unanimously, was his second straight and third in four years, making him the youngest to win that many so early in his career.

All of that while missing five weeks near the beginning of the season because of a strained muscle in his upper back.

While his dominance on the baseball diamond was evident, his passion to help others was even more so.

His foundation, Kershaw’s Challenge (www.kershawschallenge.com), which was very active this year, points people to Christ, as evidenced in the opening sentence of its mission statement: “Kershaw’s Challenge is a Christ-centered, others-focused organization. We exist to encourage people to use whatever God-given passion or talent they have to make a difference and give back to people in need. We want to empower people to use their spheres of influence to positively impact communities and to expand God’s Kingdom. We believe that God can transform at-risk children and neighborhoods through the benevolence and impact of others.”

This past year, Kershaw’s Challenge partnered with four organizations to help reach people all over the world and 100 percent of donations were distributed to these organizations, with each receiving 25 percent (CURE International for their help in providing surgeries for children in Zambia; Arise Africa to build another children’s home; Dream Center, which ministers to people in Los Angeles and Mercy Street, which is building a “Field of Dreams” Little League field in the inner-city of the Kershaw’s hometown of Dallas, Texas.

“For me it’s about the legacy you leave off the field,” Kershaw said in an I Am Second video about his faith and how it inspires him and his wife to give back. “We’re just doing the part that God gave us. You can’t think that we can change the whole country by ourselves, but God can.”

By Brett Honeycutt

This story was published in Sports Spectrum’s Fall 2014 DigiMag #3. Log in HERE to view the issue or subscribe HERE to receive 12 issues of Sports Spectrum a year.