Spring 2021 Magazine

White Sox catcher James McCann overcame odds at birth to receive 1st All-Star Game berth

James McCann seems to have adjusted well to life in Chicago.

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In his first season as the White Sox catcher, McCann will play in Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game in Cleveland. His stellar play behind the plate, to go along with his .316 batting average, 30 RBIs and nine home runs in 63 games, earned him a spot on the American League roster in what will be his first All-Star Game appearance.

The 2019 season is McCann’s fifth full year in the majors, with the previous four coming as a member of the Detroit Tigers. Detroit selected him from the University of Arkansas in the second round of the 2011 draft and he made his MLB debut in September 2014.

McCann, 29, proved to be a valuable asset with the Tigers, and in December 2018 he signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the White Sox.

His journey to becoming an All-Star is truly incredible considering the story of his birth, which he shared on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2017.

His parents were 13 weeks pregnant when the doctors discovered that his mother had developed a hole in her amniotic sac. Doctors said the baby had a 25 percent chance of living, and virtually guaranteed that the baby would have some sort of disability. They mentioned abortion, but McCann’s parents never considered it. They had already lost one child to a still birth.

Three decades later, that baby is now one of the best baseball players in the world.

This story is the reason McCann signs every autograph with Mark 10:27, which says, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'”

McCann need only remember his birth story if he ever doubts that God is with him. Whether he goes 0-for-4 or 4-for-4 in a game, God loves him just the same.

“Human nature is to get caught in the ups and downs … but the best thing that I’ve learned over all the years is that baseball is what I do, it’s not who I am,” McCann said on the podcast. “Finding that identity of who you are is the key, and that identity is that I’m a child of God. … I can be the same day in and day out because of where I place my identity, and that’s in Jesus.”

Following his All-Star debut, McCann will use his God-given abilities to help his White Sox make a playoff push. The team enters the All-Star break in third place in the AL Central with a 42-44 record. McCann was Chicago’s only selection for the All-Star Game, which can be seen on FOX (7:30 p.m. ET).

You can listen to the entire interview with James on Sports Spectrum below. 

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