Former Huntsville Stars pitcher keeps focus on God
Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011
By Bill Sorrell
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (BP)--Both saves. Both reliefs. Both different.
After being promoted to the Nashville Sounds from the Huntsville Stars in June, left-handed pitcher Daniel Meadows got his first save July 18 in a relief effort against the Iowa Cubs.
Meadows was a Southern League all-star at midseason while going 6–2 in Huntsville, a Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.
He had one of the lowest ERAs in the league (1.51) and held opposing batters to a .192 batting average, the league’s fifth lowest. He also allowed the second fewest base runners per nine innings (8.42) and was third in walks per nine innings (1.94).
“One thing is his numbers. He had an outstanding year already,” said Huntsville pitcher Lucas Luetge of Meadows’ ascension to Triple-A. Meadows missed the all-star game because of the call-up.
But the most important save of Meadows’ life came in the seventh grade. At a church camp, he prayed to receive Christ.
While Meadows had attended church in his hometown of Katy, Texas, with his parents, both strong spiritual influences, it was something about that camp sermon that resonated with him.
“You listen but you never really have it sink in until you get that moment where you realize that you have to give your life fully to Christ,” Meadows, 23, said. “I understand that I am here for a bigger purpose than just playing baseball.”
Drafted out of Temple College in Texas in the first-year player draft in 2008, he signed with the Helena (Mont.) Brewers instead of accepting a scholarship offer from Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
“I had to grow up quick and understand that life comes a lot quicker (in pro baseball). It’s a completely different lifestyle. People get the wrong idea. It’s not all flashy money and cars.”
Temptations, doubts and “tons of stuff that could challenge your faith” were striking around him.
“I was putting trust in everything other than Jesus Christ. ... Everybody turns to something or someone.”
Things changed during spring training in 2009. Meadows became more committed to Christ.
“In times of adversity, in times of failure, you know that it is not over. Faith is a marathon. You’ve got to stay strong.”
Meadows had a strong 2009 season. Playing for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the Single-A Midwestern League, he posted a 13–6 record with a 4.01 ERA and 108 strikeouts.
Meadows played last season with the Brevard County Manatees in the A+ Florida State League and began this season in Huntsville.
“His playing ability is outstanding. He’s got a really good change-up and works both sides of the plate,” Huntsville pitcher Robert Hinton said.
His strength is throwing strikes. He had 39 strikeouts in Huntsville and 28 by mid-August in Nashville.
Meadows’ fastest pitch reaches the mid-to-upper 80s.
“There are some high opportunities where I have been able to get the job done, and that has built some confidence.”
He has seen his share of players who put their whole lives into baseball, failing “to understand the bigger meaning of why we are here,” he said.
“You are here to serve God. The ultimate goal is to get to heaven. I am a firm believer that you follow stuff, whether it’s baseball; you have got to find the right things to follow, and Christ is the one thing.”
Meadows studies his Bible to “listen to what God is saying.” When he signs an autograph, he adds Colossians 3:23, his favorite verse.
Meadows tries to get other players involved in baseball chapel and Bible study.
“He is always leading, trying to set an example for everybody to spread the word,” Luetge said.
Meadows’ words and “the way he lives his life, doing the right things, not putting himself in bad situations” are ways he displays his faith, Luetge said.
“You are put on the platform. Everybody is a sinner. Everybody falls short of the glory of God. Nobody is going to be perfect all the time. To tell these guys about the Lord is tough if you are not acting the right way.”
For Hinton, it was an encouragement to have a “Christian brother” on the team.
“You hold each other accountable,” he said.
When Meadows is at home, he golfs, hunts and fishes.
The youngest player on Huntsville’s team to be married, Meadows and his high school sweetheart, Angela, married Dec. 11, 2010.
“I want to be a disciple,” Meadows said. “I am not working to be the best baseball player but being the best man of God.”
First published in The Alabama Baptist.
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