Spring 2021 Magazine

Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon's faith keeps him centered during record-setting week

It’s not easy to set a record in Major League Baseball; after all, the league has been around for nearly 150 years. And yet this past week, Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon set a record for total hits in a four-game series, tallying 15 during the Rockies’ home series against the San Diego Padres.

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Blackmon beat the previous record of 14 hits set by Buck Jordan of the Boston Braves against the St. Louis Cardinals in July 1934, and Bill White of the Cardinals against the Chicago Cubs in July 1961. Add in the Rockies’ previous three-game series against the Cubs and Blackmon went 21-for-37  at the plate, compiling a .568 batting average with four doubles, a triple, six homers and 15 RBIs — raising his season batting average to .336 and OPS to 1.037. The three-time All-Star, unsurprisingly, was named the National League player of the week.

The standout performance this season comes after signing a six-year, $108 million contract before the 2018 season. It’s the sort of contract money that can get in the head of some players, either creating arrogance or impossible pressure. But Blackmon’s faith gives him a different perspective on the game of baseball.

“For me spiritually realizing that, you know, baseball is something that I spend a lot of time doing but you can’t turn baseball into an idol, what you derive your self-worth from,” Blackmon told the Christian Broadcasting Network. “It has to be something you do, not who you are. And once I figured all those things out, honestly baseball seemed a lot smaller to me, with the ups and downs and the struggles of failure that are going to happen, inevitably, within the game of baseball.”

This hasn’t always come easy. Early in his major league career, slumps and setbacks would get in Blackmon’s head and spiral. But as he has matured as a player and a Christian, he has learned to hold success and failure more loosely. The focus he keeps on his faith helps, as he’s a part of Bible studies with fellow teammates while traveling.

“I ask for a grateful heart every day and even when it seems tough, you know, you should rejoice in being tested,” Blackmon told CBN. “Everything needs to be an opportunity in my eyes and not an obstacle.”

When asked what he admires most about Christ, Blackmon told CBN, “The love that [God] has for me, even though I don’t deserve it. You know, that grace is something that I try to understand every day. But it’s hard to comprehend! I try and learn more about Him every day. And I just want to represent our God in what I do, on the field, how I treat people and what I’m thinking all the time also. I think that’s very important.”

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