Fourth of July '22

Cardinals 1B Paul Goldschmidt enjoying blistering start to season, keeps growing in faith

Keeping Paul Goldschmidt off the basepaths is one of the most difficult tasks in baseball at the moment. The St. Louis Cardinals first baseman has gotten on base 31 times in 63 plate appearances during his 14-game hitting streak that dates back to May 7.

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In that stretch, Goldschmidt is hitting .458 with 12 doubles, four home runs and 18 RBIs. He went 4-for-5 and hit two doubles in the Cardinals’ 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, before getting a well-deserved day off in Sunday’s series finale.

The six-time All-Star’s .342 batting average would be a career best if he keeps it up, and currently ranks fourth in the majors. He also ranks in the top 10 in doubles (tied for first with 16), RBIs (tied for eighth with 29) and on-base percentage (third at .409) through Sunday’s games.

It’s the best Goldschmidt has played since joining the Cardinals in a December 2018 trade from Arizona, which drafted him in the eighth round in 2009. He made his MLB debut with the Diamondbacks in 2011 and finished second in MVP voting just two years later when his 36 home runs and 125 RBIs paced the National League.

He made the All-Star Game every year from 2013-18, but has yet to return since joining St. Louis. The Cardinals, however, have reached the playoffs each of the past three seasons thanks to Goldschmidt’s help. And at 23-18 this year, they are in position to contend for another postseason berth.

He’s also a spiritual leader on a team with a number of strong Christ-followers. That wasn’t the case when Goldschmidt was drafted, though. God and faith were not major factors in his life until he met his Double-A manager, an outspoken Christian named Turner Ward. The more he talked with Ward, the more curious Goldschmidt got. They began reading the Bible together, and Goldschmidt was struck by the Book of Proverbs.

“I just think, you know, whether you’re a believer or not, there’s so much truth in those sayings in Proverbs,” Goldschmidt told I Am Second in 2019. “And that was probably the first time my mind was open too, where what the Bible says isn’t a lie.”

Since then, the 34-year-old’s been on a quest to learn more about God and deepen his relationship with Him.

“It was a process; reading the Bible can take a while to understand it,” he said in a 2019 interview with STL Sports Page. “People spend their entire lives reading and studying the Bible and don’t have a full understanding, which is what makes the Bible amazing.”

For Goldschmidt, helping his team be successful and honoring God go hand in hand.

“I think sometimes the outside view of Christians is that the guy doesn’t care about baseball, doesn’t care if they win, and I think that’s the farthest thing from the truth,” he told STL Sports Page. “That’s the way I’ve been taught. You’re supposed to go out there and compete with everything you have. I believe you should use the gifts that Jesus has given you and use them to glorify Him.”

Learning that he didn’t have to be perfect because of God’s grace is one of the things that drew Goldschmidt to the Christian faith.

“I know I’m not perfect,” he said in the I Am Second video. “I know I’m making mistakes all the time. But the Bible talks about — Jesus talks about — how none of us can be perfect and that’s why we need Him. That, to me, was a message of truth.”

After finishing off a sweep of the Pirates with an 18-run explosion Sunday, St. Louis welcomes the Toronto Blue Jays for a two-game series on Monday and Tuesday night. First pitch for both games is set for 7:45 p.m. ET.

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