Through the month of March, leading up to MLB Opening Day on April 1,
Sports Spectrum is highlighting 21 Christ-following players to watch in 2021.
The abbreviated 2020 season marked the first time since 2017 that Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen played for the same team two years in a row. He was traded to the Giants and dealt again to the Yankees at the trade deadline in 2018. Then he entered free agency, signing a three-year, $50 million deal with Philadelphia.
A torn ACL limited McCutchen to 59 games in his first season with the Phillies. He returned to have a productive 2020 campaign, ranking second on the team with 55 hits and 34 runs batted in. After re-signing catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Didi Gregorius this offseason, the Phillies are hoping they can snap their nine-year playoff drought in 2021.
As he leads his team, McCutchen is led by the Lord. Growing up in Fort Meade, Florida, as the son of a minister, McCutchen was introduced to God at an early age.
“Our lives revolved around the church, they revolved around God,” McCutchen said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2019. “Our life was based upon that, so I learned at a very young age how important having a relationship with God is.”
When he was 16, McCutchen decided to make his faith his own and got baptized. Not long after that, the Pirates took him with the 11th overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft. He made his major league debut in 2009 and spent his first nine seasons in Pittsburgh.
McCutchen developed into one of the best hitters in the game, finishing top-five in MVP voting four years in a row. He took home the honor in 2013 after hitting .317 with 21 home runs, 27 stolen bases and 84 RBIs.
His performance on the field brought increased fame and attention, which McCutchen has attempted to use to serve others and make a positive impact.
“The talent God’s blessed me with, I can use these talents for the greater good,” he said. “Knowing that God blessed me to be a baseball player, I knew that I could be something even bigger. I used that platform that I had and tried to make a difference.”
McCutchen did just that back in July, writing a speech that was read by actor Morgan Freeman before the Yankees and Nationals took the field in the first game of the season:
Today, and every day, we come together as brothers. As equals, all with the same goal – to level the playing field. To change the injustices. Equality is not just a word. It’s our right!
Today we stand as men from 25 nations on 6 continents.
Today, we are one. pic.twitter.com/vKUGdRfwgQ
— MLB (@MLB) July 23, 2020
“This is a moment for us to honor each other, to honor the things that we’re going through,” the five-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner told ESPN. “With the social injustices we’re going through in this country, with the things that exist outside our nation — places like Venezuela, the Dominican Republic. To honor that and show that we honor each other, that we have each other’s back, that we’re going to fight for each other.”
McCutchen enters the upcoming season 10th among active players in hits, sixth in runs scored, 14th in home runs and 12th in RBIs. While he is thankful for the numbers he’s been able to put up and the accolades he’s received, the 34-year-old has not lost sight of the bigger picture.
“This game is amazing and it is important, and I realize that, but God is more important than the game,” McCutchen says.
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