Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Yankees manager Joe Girardi says the greatest freedom in life is found in Christ

The 2017 New York Yankees are just one game away from participating in another World Series.

New York beat Houston 5-0 on Wednesday to take a 3-2 series lead in the ALCS.

Their manager Joe Girardi is no stranger to this time of year. He won 3 rings as a player with the Yankees in 1996, 98, and 99 and one as a manager in 2009.

But even more than winning rings, Girardi’s faith in Christ is what keeps him going, as he shared in the below video from 2012.

The Yankees skipper says his faith in Jesus Christ began when his mother got sick during his teen years.

“My mom died in the summer of my sophomore year,” Girardi told Game Plan for Life. “I was 19 years old. I saw her take her last breath. I really never dealt with my mother passing away and all the things that I thought about. It hit me in my second year of pro ball and I said, ‘why am I playing?’ I used to think I was playing to give my mom something to live for. To give her hope. My now wife, then girlfriend made me realize that I was playing because God gave me a gift and that’s when I came to know Jesus.”

Girardi says as the manager of the New York Yankees, his faith in Christ is something that he doesn’t force on his players, but one that he doesn’t hide either.

“I don’t preach to my players. But I don’t hide my faith,” Girardi said at an Athletes in Action event in 2013. “I’m open. If they want to ask me, I tell them. I go to chapel with the players. I go in there with the players. I’m not going to hide my faith. I don’t hide it to the organization. This is who I am. If you don’t like me, then get rid of me, its simple. I don’t worry about my next job, because I know that God is in charge.”

Girardi says the foundation of his walk with Christ begins at home with his wife and his children.

“It’s important that our kids know that we love Jesus,” Girardi said at an Athletes in Action event in 2013. “And that we’re not afraid to speak our minds about our faith and that we’re not embarrassed about our faith. You live it, you don’t pound it into people but you love people into the kingdom.”

In baseball, as the manager of the most popular team, scrutiny comes from every turn. The fans are upset. The media is crushing you. The ability to have freedom and play loose and without worry becomes difficult. But for Joe Girardi, he says the greatest freedom we can ever experience is eternal life through Christ.

“Receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior, gives us a freedom that you can’t imagine. Jesus doesn’t want you to go out and do good works. He wants your heart and out of that, you will go do good things for people.

Click below to read more on Joe’s faith from a May 1997 article in Sports Spectrum.

From the Archives — New York Times