Josh Hamilton signs, with a purpose …
If you’re in Arizona and really want a Josh Hamilton autograph this spring, chances are you’ll get one, if you haven’t already.
The Angels’ new right fielder, brought in on a five-year, $125 million deal over the offseason, practically signs for everybody. Last Saturday, shortly after the team’s bus rode out to the A’s complex in Phoenix, Hamilton started signing for fans in the bleachers behind the first-base dugout. Then more and more of them started making their way down the stands, hoping to get an autograph before he decided to leave. Hamilton, out of the starting lineup that day, did the opposite. He pulled up a chair, faced the crowd, sat there and signed until he got every single fan. It took about an hour.
And there’s a reason for that.
To Hamilton, it’s more than a mere autograph.
“The reason I sign is I put scripture on everything,” he said. “I don’t sign because I really enjoy signing. I sign because I want to get the word out, man. Bible verses, and then people ask me to personalize stuff. You write a neat little message to them, a Bible verse, it goes a long way.”
Hamilton’s entire life now revolves around his faith. It’s what helped him through years of drug-and-alcohol abuse, getting him back on track to enjoy the fulfilling life he has today. Hamilton doesn’t take that for granted. And as a famous baseball player, he feels a responsibility to use his fame to touch other peoples’ lives through his faith.
Ridiculous as I may find it, people are sometimes annoyed by athletes who preach their faith (think Tim Tebow). Hamilton wears Christianity on his sleeve, not because he’s trying to push his religion on others but because it’s truly a constant, driving force in his day-to-day life.
Autographs are his way of relaying that in a subtle way.
“I really take it serious as far as that,” he said. “Guys are always like, ‘Why are you signing so much?’ Because I’m spreading the word. What better way to use your platform than to interact with people and share the Gospel with them?”
Thanks to Angels fan Barbara Freeman for passing the picture of the ball along; Hamilton signed that for her 14-year-old niece.