Evan Carter wasn’t even on the Texas Rangers’ major league roster at the start of September. But by the time the postseason started a month later, he had cemented himself as a starter in the outfield, and manager Bruce Bochy penciled him in as the No. 3 hitter night in and night out.
On Wednesday, at just 21 years old and after spending most of the season in the minor leagues, he was in the middle of a dogpile with his teammates celebrating the first World Series championship in Rangers franchise history. They defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 to take the series in five games.
“This is just an unbelievable experience,” he told MLB Network following the game. “What a group of guys to experience it with. I’m blessed to be here. It’s unbelievable.”
"This is unbelievable, what a dream come true."
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 2, 2023
Carter smacked a double in the top of the seventh inning, moving Corey Seager to third base as part of a rally that put the game’s first run on the board. The Rangers iced the game with four more runs in the ninth.
It was a core group of veterans that led the way, but Carter and fellow rookie Josh Jung proved to be crucial pieces to the Rangers’ historic run, which included going 11-0 in road games through all four rounds of the MLB playoffs. Carter hit .300 with one home run, six runs batted in and three stolen bases in 17 postseason games, and his nine doubles during the playoffs set a new MLB record. In the World Series, he hit .286 with three doubles and one RBI.
Evan Carter was at Double-A just over two months ago.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) November 2, 2023
Carter’s postseason performance was a continuation of his short but torrid start to his major league career. After spending the majority of 2023 at Double-A before a brief stint in Triple-A, Carter hit .306 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in just 22 regular-season games with the big league club.
He singled in his first major league at-bat on Sept. 8 — perhaps a sign of what was to come. Prior to that first game, and also subsequent games, he took batting practice while wearing a shirt that read, “JESUS WON.” He met with the media in that shirt prior to his MLB debut and began by praising God.
“I’m grateful,” he said. “I thank God for this opportunity.”
Due to Carter’s rising popularity, fans began asking about the shirts, so he and his wife, Kaylen, partnered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which originally made the shirt, to sell more. Carter said on Instagram, “Our mission is to use the platform that baseball has blessed us with to give back to our community in Carter County, TN. Proceeds from your purchase of a Jesus Won t-shirt will jointly benefit two incredible programs in our community.”
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To further express his faith in Christ, Carter has a tattoo on his left arm that stands for “God is greater than the highs and lows,” and on his right wrist he often wears an “I Am Second” wristband. He also has Proverbs 3:5-6 in his Instagram bio.
Meanwhile, his fellow rookie Jung had an impressive postseason performance as well, batting .308 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 17 games. In the World Series, he hit .350 with one double and three runs scored. On Wednesday, his single to lead off the top of the ninth started a four-run rally.
After a regular season in which he was named an All-Star, Jung is also likely to be a finalist for American League Rookie of the Year. He was named AL Rookie of the Month out of the gate in April and then again in May.
“Excitement, joy, all of it,” Jung said Wednesday night when asked what he’s feeling. “I can’t even process all of the emotions. It’s just, ‘Wow, we did it.'”
"Excitement, joy, all of it. I can't even process all the emotions. Wow, we did it!" 🙌@BenVerlander spoke with Josh Jung after the @Rangers clinched their first #WorldSeries title in franchise history ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/OOO8ZtV2dV
— Flippin' Bats Podcast (@FlippinBatsPod) November 2, 2023
Also a follower of Jesus, Jung’s bio on X (formerly Twitter) reads, “Baseball is what I do, not who I am,” and he describes himself as a “Competitor for Christ.”
“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 HisHuddle.com 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.”
Jung was also interviewed in 2019 by a pastor at the church he attended while in college at Texas Tech (2017-2019).
“Sports aren’t going to 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?”
Jung and Carter find their identities in Christ, and will continue to do so even after becoming World Series champions. With core veterans returning and youngsters like Jung and Carter in the fold, the Rangers will look to return to the World Series in 2024.
— Rookie Evan Carter has been huge spark for Rangers as he declares ‘Jesus won’
— Rangers’ Josh Jung wins AL Rookie of the Month while being ‘competitor for Christ’
— In 1st World Series, Rangers 3B coach Tony Beasley leans on God in life’s hills & valleys
— Christ-following pitcher Ryan Thompson key piece to Diamondbacks’ World Series run
— Pitcher Aaron Nola leads Phillies in postseason as he puts ‘all my trust’ in Jesus