Keith Wishum: Your MVP Award
Published 10:28 am Saturday, February 24, 2018
Though I’ve never met him, I like Joe Gordon. He gives me hope.
Gordon, playing for the New York Yankees in 1942, led the American League in strikeouts. He also led in errors. And in the number of double plays he hit into. My kind of guy!
But, Gordon was also voted the Most Valuable Player for the AL that year. And that gives me hope. How did it happen? You might think that Gordon was so overwhelmingly successful in some other category (like home runs) that his mistakes were overshadowed. But that wasn’t it. He did not lead his league in any offensive category that year. Nor was he the best defensive second baseman either.
Were there no other popular players competing with Gordon so that he was picked by default? No, the legendary Ted Williams led the AL in batting average, home runs, RBI, and both hitting and slugging percentages in 1942. Also, ahead of Gordon in total hits, RBI, and homeruns was the famous Joe DiMaggio.
So, how did the relatively unknown Joe Gordon capture the MVP crown? The stats seem to suggest an answer. Though he did not lead in any hitting category, Gordon was among the top five in batting average, slugging, home runs, and hits. And, with his glove, he sparkled in spite of his league-leading 28 errors. He turned far more double plays than any other second baseman, and he was third in the number of total putouts he made. Plus, he played in more games than any other second baseman.
Gordon was honored, not because he was perfect; too many errors and strikeouts for that. And, not because he was superhuman; too many better hitters for that to fly. Gordon was honored because he was a good all-around player who played hard every day.
The heroes in the Bible are the same — flawed people with many errors. But they stayed in the game and found ways, with God’s help, to get the job done.
You can be a hero at your house like that. Though you strike out often and never lead in any category, you can be faithful — to God, to your spouse, to your family, and to your friends.
“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” Jesus said (Revelation 2:10). You can win the crown — God’s MVP award — just by being faithful.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.