US baseball All-Star has strong faith and potent bat

(Photo: REUTERS / Doug Kapustin)Baltimore Orioles batter Chris Davis (R) is greeted by third base coach Bobby Dickerson after connecting for his league-leading 36th home run off of Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Todd Redmond during the second inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Baltimore, Maryland July 13, 2013.

The top vote-getter in Tuesday's Major League Baseball All-Star Game says his previous failures in the sport moved him back to the Christian faith of his childhood.

Chris Davis, who plays first base for the Baltimore Orioles and leads all of baseball in home runs at the season's halfway point, returned to his Christian roots in 2010 during a crisis in his career.

In October, 2010 the Texas Rangers left Davis off of its World Series roster.

He told The Baltimore Sun last month that the night before the Rangers were to start their quest for a championship, he woke up in his hotel room drenched in sweat.

He knew then that he had to reach for his Bible.

"That's where I was able to let go," he said. "I was hanging on to baseball so much. It was everything to me.

"If I was failing at baseball, I was failing at life."


The slugger was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2006 and by the middle of 2008, he had a lock on the job at first base.

However, the next two seasons Davis shuttled back and forth between Texas and the Rangers' top minor league team due to his inability to hit in the big leagues.

In 2009 he struck out 150 times—seventh most in the American League, according to ESPN. The following year his batting averaged dipped below .200, a career low.

After the 2010 season, Davis told ESPN that he recommitted himself to his faith. He also proposed to his girlfriend Jill.

"That's when I really grew up," he said. "It just put things into perspective. Yeah, I care about this game, but it's not the be all, end all."


Davis began reading the Scriptures and giving thanks every day.

"I wasn't living the way I should've been living, and I think God used baseball to pull me back to him," he told ESPN.

In the spring of 2011 Davis hoped to make the Rangers roster since he had good numbers in spring training. However, he was sent back to the minor leagues.

At this point, Davis thought of quitting baseball, going to seminary and becoming a minister. He and Jill prayed, and the next day he hit three home runs.

"It was a sign," he told ESPN.

Then, in July, 2011 he was traded to Baltimore.

In spring training in 2012, he told his hometown newspaper that although it was hard to watch the Rangers again return to the World Series in 2011 without him, he was glad to be with the Orioles.

"God has blessed me with a new beginning to almost start over," Davis said in the Longview (Texas) News-Journal. "When you have had some success, and some failures, you start to absorb some of the labels. It is nice to get back to the game I love."

The Orioles, a fabled franchise which had been losing since the 1990s, have begun a renaissance with Davis and other young players.

Baltimore made the playoffs in 2012. Davis hit 33 home runs during the season.

This year he has 35 already. Only three players in the history of the game have hit more before the All-Star break.

Davis, 27, was raised as a Southern Baptist. He was saved at the age of six.


"It took me 18 years to realize that I wasn't really walking with God," Davis said in the ESPN article.

"I basically had everything I wanted," he said. "I had my own place in Dallas, was playing in the big leagues as the next great thing for the Rangers. And I just had this overwhelming sense of loneliness, this emptiness. And I didn't understand it."

The massively-built Davis is known for his strength and power.

ESPN reporter Eddie Matz heard Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette talk about the Baltimore player with another reporter as Davis walked by.

The other reporter asked Duquette who Davis reminded him of. Duquette replied in the form of a question, answering, "Paul Bunyan?"

Paul Bunyan is a mythical giant lumberjack from North American folklore.

Davis knows his strength can also be a drawback.

"With my strength, I also have an extremely short temper," Davis was quoted saying in the Sun. "It doesn't take a lot to make me tick off, and I've learned to kind of control that, through the grace of God, over the years. It's just growing up and realizing that you can't control everything."

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