If you were a baseball fan in the 90’s, you may remember Terry Shumpert. Shumpert was a 2nd Round pick out of the University of Kentucky in the 1987 draft, selected by the Kansas City Royals. He made his major league debut in 1990 for the Royals, mostly in a utility infielder role. He played 5 seasons with the Royals, going on the play for the Red Sox, Cubs, and Padres. In 1997, he signed as a free agent with the Colorado Rockies. It was in Colorado that Shumpert enjoyed his greatest success. Shumpert would play with the Rockies from 1997-2002, peaking in 1999 with a career high 10 home runs, a .347 batting average, and a .997 OPS. Shumpert’s final season would be in 2003 with the Tampa Bay Rays.
One day, while playing for the Rockies, Shumpert signed an autograph. Under his signature, he wrote a Bible verse; Matthew 6:33. The verse says Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be given to you.
This particular autograph went into the hands of a young boy from Colorado named Ty Blach. Ty grew up in a Christian home and had faithful Christian parents who prayed with him every night. Faith was a big part of his life. He would attend a catholic high school, Regis Jesuit in Aurora. After High School, he chose to attend a Catholic College; Creighton University in Nebraska. In college, he immediately joined up with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and continued his walk with the Lord.
Ty would go on to have a successful collegiate career. He would later be selected in the 5th Round of the 2012 draft and would go on to pitch for the Giants from 2016 through August of 2019, at which point he was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles and moved into their starting rotation.
Even as an adult, he still remembers the way that Terry Shumpert’s willingness to share his faith impacted him. He explained to “Unashamed Athletes;” My favorite verse is Matthew 6:33. It says “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all of His righteousness and all of these things will be given to you” When I was a kid I got an autograph from Terry Shumpert who was a utility infielder for the Colorado Rockies. Under his signature he had this verse written. Ever since that day, that verse has never left me. It reminds me that in everything that I do, I should put God first and God will help take care of everything else. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Shumpert a year or so ago and I told him about the autograph and the Bible verse that he put with it and the impact it still has on me to this day. He made an impact on me with that Bible verse and I too hope to make an impact on someone’s life when I include Matt 6:33 on my autographs for fans.
In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul urges young Timothy to set an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. Shumpert set an example of how a Christian athlete can make an impact on the lives of others. Blach strives to use his platform to share the Gospel with those around him. He encourages other athletes to do the same.
Blach says; the advice that I would give to other athletes who are afraid to share their faith is to remember what Jesus Christ did for you. He died on that cross so that you could live eternally. There is nothing more important in this world than that love that Jesus showed to us and sharing that love with other people is all that He asks in return. It can be difficult and you may feel unaccepted by some people in society today, but you will come to find out that there are a lot of people in the world who are very accepting of God’s love. Someone may just be needing a ray of hope in a tough time or someone else might be just as afraid to show their faith just like you. No matter what the case, God has put you in this world to make an impact on the people around you so don’t be afraid to live for Him. There are so many wonderful people in this world and you should never be afraid to seek the advice of another Christian on how they live out the gospel message in their daily life. Trust in God with all of your heart and know that He has a plan for you and to never be afraid to live your life for Him because of the blessings that he has put in our lives.