32-year-old left-hander Clayton Kershaw can finally remove his name from a long list of Major League Baseball pitchers that includes Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Bartolo Colon, Phil Niekro and Juan Marichal, amongst others. Unlike those storied figures, Kershaw is now a World Series Champion.
Thanks in large part to Kershaw’s near-flawless postseason, paired with his 2.16 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 62 strikeouts and 6-2 record during the abbreviated 2020 Major League Baseball season, the Los Angeles Dodgers returned to glory in October, taking home the ball club’s first championship since the 1988 season and seventh in franchise history.
Despite having already won three Cy Young awards as baseball’s top pitcher, a league MVP award and having been named to the All-Star Game on eight different occasions, the 13-year pro had never won baseball’s greatest trophy – that is until 2020. Having made it to the World Series in three of the past four seasons, Kershaw’s run of bad postseason luck finally wore out, as he and the entire city of Los Angeles celebrated the second major sporting league victory (following the Lakers’ NBA Finals championship) in as many weeks.
While dealing with the many complications surrounding the ongoing spread of COVID-19, the Dodgers managed to win both their National League Wild Card and Divisional Series’ over Milwaukee and San Diego, respectively without losing a single game. Things changed dramatically in the NLCS, however, with the Atlanta Braves taking a substantial 3-1 series lead, before Los Angeles made a triumphant comeback. Kershaw and the Dodgers then moved on to the World Series, where the champions took care of the Tampa Bay Rays in six games.
“I just keep saying it over and over again, ‘World Series champs, World Series champs,’ it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Kershaw said enthusiastically on the television broadcast following his team’s victory. “I am just so, so very thankful to be a part of this group of guys. And so very thankful that we get to be on the team that is bringing back a World Series to the Dodgers fans after 32 years.”
Love God, Love Others
Although continually speaking of his love for his fellow teammates and members of the Dodgers organization, Kershaw also shared his love for all of humankind back in late-August, when his team decided to hold out from playing their regularly scheduled game in recognition of the ongoing civil rights movement in the United States.
“Love God. Love others. Simple as that,” Kershaw posted on his social media accounts. “Tonight, my teammates and I decided not to play. Tonight is about taking a stand right where I need to be — next to my teammate and coaches. Love God, love my teammates. Baseball comes after that.”
“Love God, love my teammates. Baseball comes after that.”
One wouldn’t have to look too hard to find other posted messages from Kershaw’s faith-based perspective in the online realm. His Twitter bio plainly states: “Colossians 3:23” which reads: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord, rather than other people.” Right next to the Colossians 3:23 reference is a link to one of his charities: Kershaw’s Challenge.
From the website: Kershaw’s Challenge is a faith-based, others-focused organization. We exist to encourage people to use whatever God-given passion or talent they have to make a difference and give back to people in need. We want to empower people to use their spheres of influence to impact communities positively and to expand God’s Kingdom. We believe that God can transform at-risk children and neighborhoods through the benevolence and impact of others.
According to www.KershawsChallenge.com, the not-for-profit organization has raised over $12 million in less than nine years of operation. Every dollar raised goes directly to one of its 22 partner beneficiaries, with a focus on its four locations: Los Angeles, Dallas, Dominican Republic and Zambia.
“I didn’t do anything to deserve this gift,” Kershaw previously told the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “God gave me this ability to throw a baseball. He chose me for a reason, and I want to honour him with that. You can’t control the talents he gives you – no doubt about that. But you can control the effort you put forth with those talents. We’re not here to try and gain accolades for ourselves and gain fame and all this stuff. The reason that we play baseball, and I get to do interviews like this, is to understand that God gave us all these opportunities to glorify him.”
“You can’t control the talents he gives you – no doubt about that. But you can control the effort you put forth with those talents.”