Boston Red Sox fans appreciated Trot Nixon as a hard-working, bring your lunch pail to work everyday guy in left field. In a career that spanned from 1996 to 2008, Nixon was always ready to battle opposing pitchers while residing in the outfield at legendary Fenway Park. But it was his late game heroics that set him apart.
In Game 3 of the 2003 American League Division series facing the Oakland A’s, Nixon was called from the bench as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 11th. With the Red Sox facing elimination, Nixon lined a two-run homer over the center field wall for a 3–1 Boston victory. After that famous homerun hit, in front of a national TV audience, he boldly proclaimed his allegiance to Jesus Christ.
In 2004, with help from Nixon’s biggest year, the Red Sox won the World Series. Nixon was known for being intense and passionate about the game, and a leader on and off the field.
Today Trot and his wife, Kathryn, and children reside in Wilmington. In his spare time he works with kids at youth baseball camps, and he hosts a regional sports television show about high school football.
Trot Nixon featured on a video game cover.
Roman Gabriel III, who periodically writes about athletics for the Biblical Recorder, caught up with Nixon and talked to him about his faith, family and sports.
Q: As a senior at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, you were named the State Player of the Year in both football and baseball. You competed for the starting quarterback job at N.C. State University. Do you think you could have played both football and baseball?
A: I looked at myself as a good college quarterback, but my heart was more geared towards baseball. I never aspired to be a professional football quarterback … but I just wanted to be one of those college players [who] went to bowl games every year and won national titles. That was the bigger picture to me.
Q: Did your hard-nosed style of playing football help you in regards to toughness on the baseball field?
A: I think it just carried over. The nature that I was brought up in playing sports was to be very aggressive.
Q: Many pointed to you as a player who led by example. What was the foundation of your strong leadership skills?
A: I learned how to be a leader when I was in high school. We all like to have leadership skills. I think that kind of helped me to understand that this is my profession. I looked up to the hard-working, hard-hat kind of guys.
Q: When did you start your relationship with God?
A: I accepted Jesus Christ in 1993. At that time I really didn’t live the Christian life. I went to church, chapel services every Sunday, but [I] really didn’t try to take that extra effort to know Jesus Christ and welcome Him into my life.
Q: I always talk about the importance of strong mentors in every person’s spiritual development. Who was that influential person in your life?
A: Before I came to Boston, my teammates Mike Stanley, John Watson and others brought me closer to Jesus Christ. I had a Bible my mom had given me, but I hadn’t carried a Bible to Sunday School or church.
A key person was Walt Day, our chaplain. He would say we need to get in the Word.
I know it made me a better person, a better husband and a better teammate. Baseball was No. 1 in my life. There is a huge difference now that Jesus is No. 1 in my life. I realized God had a plan for my life.
Q: You struggled throughout your career with chronic back problems. How did that struggle impact your life?
A: I think most baseball players don’t want to think too much about injury and what it could do. It hindered me enough where I probably lost four years of my professional career. I just tried to get back into it and rediscover my swing but those were the times when I didn’t know the Lord. I didn’t pray. I wasn’t in His Word. I was always saying why me? I’ve come to realize over the years that God is not going to put anything in front of us to do that we can’t do or hold up.
Q: Did you ever have aspirations or thoughts about the Baseball Hall of Fame during your career?
A: I wanted to be a good person on and off the field.
I really never thought about the [Baseball] Hall of Fame. There is only one hall of fame for me. All Christians understand the hall of fame that we all can be a part of, the hall of fame with Jesus Christ.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roman Gabriel III is president of Sold Out Ministries. He hosts Sold Out Sports, which can be heard Saturday at 8 p.m. EST on American Family Radio. Contact him at 910-431-6483 or [email protected], or visit soldouttv.com. The Recorder staff would like feedback on items like this as well as the design of the paper. Email [email protected] or call 919-847-2127.)