Baseball relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt’s journey in Major League Baseball started in 1997 as a third round pick of the Kansas City Royals. In 2007, the powerful lefthander was traded to the Colorado Rockies where he experienced his first taste of World Series baseball, losing to the Boston Red Sox. After a short stint in 2008 with the Cinncinnati Reds, he joined his current team the San Francisco Giants. Affeldt was named baseball’s 2010 “Set Up Man of the Year” after posting a 1.73 ERA as a key reliever for the Giants.
He was instrumental in helping them win the World Series defeating the Texas Rangers.
Affeldt is a strong advocate for ending child poverty. He writes a weekly blog about his Christian faith and his desire to stir a movement that helps the suffering and marginalized. Affeldt’s organization known as Generation Alive helps educate people about the world’s social justice issues. In 2010, he was the San Francisco Giants’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his advocacy work.
The heart of The Jeremy Affeldt Foundation is youth ministry and providing ministries with the funds and assets they need to accomplish their goals.
S.F. Giants photo
San Franciso Giant pitcher Jeremy Affeldt writes a weekly blog about his faith. He uses his sport as a platform not only to talk about his Christianity but child poverty as well.
Biblical Recorder sports correspondent Roman Gabriel III recently interviewed Affeldt on his Sold Out Sports Talk show on American Family Radio.
Affeldt shares some of the lessons God has taught him on the importance of his platform and his personal and professional life.
Q: Tell us about the origins of Generation Alive.
A: We started this organization in 2005. I wanted to get into public and private schools, talk about child development skills and developing young minds in the correct way. We would then invite them to after school outreaches to share the gospel. [We’d] follow up by getting youth pastors involved and looking toward ongoing [opportunities] to disciple these students.
Q: What is your impression of this generation of young people?
A: This generation is impressionable. Generation Y is [an] awesome group of young people. We want to empower them in some way to understand that they have tremendous ability to make a difference in the world. Influencing these kids is a passion of mine. We have more young people in the world today than any other time. And using sports and my success is important.
I’m not sure I could have the same influence without the opportunity I have in sports. As an athlete I’ve been a part of a lot of success in my career – nine years in the big leagues, two World Series appearances, one World Series championship, and “Set Up Man of the Year.” I want to do a lot more with what I have been given.
Q: It sounds like you’re not satisfied with just being an athlete or … “today’s role model.”
A: I have had a lot of success and failure, but it all means absolutely nothing if I don’t do what I am supposed to do with those things. I do not think sitting at home, telling my kids and my wife, “look at me and look how good I am” [is it.] … If that’s all I’m here for then that’s such a shallow life. I want to do a lot more with what I have been given.
Q: A lot of people think that success comes over night. Your career has not been easy, four years in the minor leagues and a lot of physical setbacks. It was a long wait for success.
A: It was [an] awesome spiritual journey when I started in Kansas City. … I was a power pitcher, left-handed pitcher, power arm. I could see I could be a top starter.
But I had these weird injuries: oblique tear, tore my groin tendon from the bone, and a lot of finger problems. I had never been hurt before I came to the majors. I was grieving all the injuries, trying to get my career going, but God [wanted] to show me something through the pain and failure.
But he spared my arm. It was never that, which I was thankful for, even during the bad years. I can remember being like David … and screaming, frustrated … asking God not to forget about me. … But [also] practicing the other end of David’s prayer of thanking God for being so faithful.
Q: What lesson did you take from that situation early in your career that helps you today?
A: I learned so much in my pain and frustration, and I learned so much, staying close to [God]. I was mad, not fulfilling my talent, but that’s where my heart was truly open … that’s where the truth is exposed about us.
God poured his love on me. Just remember that when everything is going good we have a tendency not to [feel like we] need God.
He knew the success he wanted to give me down the road, but I didn’t. What I went through early in my career kept me on track, and has kept me humble now during my success. And I want to use being a World Series champion and my career successes. I just want to use this platform to promote the love of God.
Q: Where can people go to find out more about Generation Alive and your blog?
A: You can find my blog at generationalive.org, and on Facebook and Twitter. I am also on both Facebook and Twitter personally and do a lot of positive quotes throughout the day, along with positive articles [that] I think would be good for people to read. My weekly blog gives my thoughts and views regarding sports and Christianity.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Roman Gabriel is an evangelist and motivational speaker. His Sold Out Sports Talk Radio program on American Family Radio can be heard in 200 cities nationally or streaming live at afr.net. It’s all about faith, family and sports. Visit his website: soldouttv.com; Facebook page: Roman Gabriel III Fan Page; connect with him on Twitter: romangabriel3rd; email him: [email protected] or call 910-431-6483. For more stories from Gabriel, visit here.)