Sample - Chapter 1
I played major league baseball. I shook Ernie Banks' hand, I watched Billy Williams clout mammoth home runs, and I pitched against the Atlanta Braves when Hank Aaron and Joe Torre were in their prime. Leo Durocher, the sideshow performer turned manager of the Chicago Cubs, looked down his crooked nose at me and scowled. I was there, in 1968, sitting in the bullpen waiting anxiously for the next opportunity to pitch.
Some have called me The Missing Cub, the left-handed arm that might have stabilized the pitching staff in 1969. Maybe I could have been there in the eighth inning that year to snuff out a rally with a key strikeout. Or perhaps I could have started a handful of games, preserving the ragged arms in the bullpen late in the season. Maybe I was the piece of the puzzle that could have prevented one of the most famous collapses in baseball history. Or maybe not. But I undestand why, when I begin to recount my favorite baseball stories, that the eyes of those listening get bright and curious. Baseball stories evoke memories of great plays and key hits. They raise the question that makes baseball America's favorite past time: what might have been?
The glitter is only part of the story. I went from a humble upbringing in Olympia, Washington to a brief career with the Chicago Cubs and then, finally to a long and satisfying calling. That journey, from aspiring athlete to Christian minister, is the story underneath the story, and the one that I find fascinates listeners even more - how, they want to know, did I decide to walk away from the sport I loved? How did I find my place in the world when, in the beginning, it was not clear what I should be doing? How did I find my purpose in life. . .