Summer 2024

Texas Rangers' Josh Jung wins AL Rookie of the Month while being 'competitor for Christ'

The first month of the MLB regular season has already passed, division races are taking shape and the first monthly in-season awards have already been handed down. The recipient of the American League Rookie of the Month award was Josh Jung of the Texas Rangers.

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Jung has appeared in 28 of his team’s 30 games so far this year, leading all AL rookies in hits (30), home runs (eight) and RBIs (24), and cementing his place as the Rangers’ third baseman. One of Jung’s better games as a major leaguer came Wednesday, when he belted two homers and added a single in five at-bats during a 12-7 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The 25-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, was drafted eighth overall by the Rangers in 2019 after three seasons at Texas Tech. He got his feet wet in the majors last year, playing in 26 games with the Rangers, but not enough to disqualify him from consideration as a rookie this season.

Thanks in part to Jung’s impressive start to the season, the Rangers are in first place in the AL West with an 18-12 record. Yet what drives Jung to succeed on the baseball field, he says, is ultimately not a desire to make himself look great but a desire to praise God for what He’s done.

In October 2019, Jung was interviewed by a pastor at the church he attended while in college at Texas Tech (2017-19).

“Sports aren’t gonna last forever. Being a baseball player is not gonna last forever, and eventually your name will fade away,” Jung said while detailing his journey of faith. “When all that’s over, where is your identity gonna be? Who are you gonna be?”

For Jung, he knows his identity is in Christ.

Jung describes himself as a “Competitor for Christ” in his Twitter bio, which says in part, “Baseball is what I do, not who I am.”

“I gave my life to Christ my freshman year of high school, and then my freshman year of college was the first time I took that step of a personal journey with Him,” Jung told in December 2020. “My three years in college were awesome in many ways, but the thing that really hit home with me are the memories from sharing my story with God to others.”

He continued later: “People will watch how you do things and your character is always at play. … It’s easy to follow [Christ] when everything is going great. It’s hard when things are rough. But for me, that’s a time to take a step back and be like, ‘OK, what is God trying to tell me about myself in this season or in this storm, and how can I become better on the other side of it?’”

Jung said he finds solace in the Bible verse Ephesians 6:11, which says, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

“God has equipped us and gives us strength,” Jung told His Huddle, “to go out into the world and spread the Good News, to spread the Word of God.”

Jung will seek to continue to live in light of the reality of who God has made him to be, even as he seeks both personal and team success in his rookie season.

Jung and his Rangers teammates will begin the first of three consecutive series on the road starting on Friday, when they face the Angels (17-14). The first pitch is scheduled for 9:38 p.m. ET.

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