Melky Cabrera, White Sox outfielder, from the Dominican Republic, Christian, says God “has given me everything that I’ve asked for.”
Growing up in the Dominican Republic, there were “hardships,” like not always having enough to eat.
Roughly a third of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean nation, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Most of the country is Catholic, but his family wasn’t really churchgoing.
Today, he describes himself as a Christian.
An aunt gave him a Bible when he was a kid. “I started reading it, and I started looking for God in that instant,” he says in Spanish through a Sox translator.
“At first, I didn’t understand the Bible that much, but I started reading it and learned more. The person who got me the most into it was” a friend who helped him “understand the Bible better and to look for God more.”
“Every day, I read a chapter to keep learning, and I have learned about life, that you have to take advantage of it, that you have to look for God.”
“God exists” and can do “miraculous things.”
Cabrera prays quite a bit.
“Before leaving my house. I pray before getting here” at Sox park.
“I pray before the game and after the game.”
What does he pray for?
“For my children, for the world, for my teammates, for the team.”
Believes in helping the needy, and, when he’s back in the Dominican Republic, does what he can.
What does God look like?
“The biggest thing in the world. He was the one who created us. He gave us life. To me, it’s the biggest thing in the world. . . . He has given me everything that I’ve asked for.”
What does heaven look like?
“I don’t know.” God is probably is “the only one who knows.”
At last check, he was batting around .280, with seven home runs and 40 runs batted in. Last season, he batted close to .300.
“It was God who gave me those skills. I don’t think anyone in the world is born with skills. It’s God who gives” them to people.
Doesn’t attend church services often during baseball season. On Sundays, though, “Someone comes to preach” at the ballpark, “and I always go.”
Psalms 23 and 91 in the Bible “have always caught my attention.”
That first psalm, according to one translation, begins, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Another part: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”
The other psalm describes God as “my refuge and my fortress.”
Do ballplayers ever talk faith and religion in the clubhouse?
“Some of us.”
Cabrera asks God “to always keep me solid” amid his fortune and fame.
He wants his kids to be spiritual.
“I’ve always been a Christian.”
What’s the most important lesson of Christianity?
“Well, following the path of God. I believe in what the Bible says and what the Bible says is happening in the world.”
What about the path to victory — does he pray for wins?
“No. I always say let it be God’s will if we lose or win. Always God is the one who commands if one is going to lose or win. I never say that I’m going to win. No. One has to conform to God’s will, whether” that means you win or lose.
“There are a lot of fake religions . . . false religions.”
There should only be “one religion, and that is to follow God.”
CONTRIBUTING: Andrea Salcedo and Amanda Svachula
Listen to previous “Face to Faith” podcasts:
- The Mekons’ Sally Timms: ‘Not the kind of atheist who’s down on religion,’ June 18, 2017
- J.B. Pritzker: At times, ‘your faith has to overcome maybe logic,’ June 11, 2017
- Daoud Casewit, American Islamic College president: ‘We’re as American as we are Islamic,’ June 4, 2017
- Public Defender Amy Campanelli: My clients ‘are not evil people,’ May 28, 2017
- James Lovell: ‘We go to heaven when we’re born,’ May 21, 2017
- Michael Magnafichi, one-time ‘rising star’ in Chicago mob: ‘I do say prayers,’ May 14, 2017
- Ald. Ameya Pawar: ‘There’s always the opportunity for redemption,’ May 7, 2017
- Sir the Baptist: ‘I want to be the first hip-hop chaplain,’ April 30, 2017
- Singer Shemekia Copeland: ‘Hell, yeah’ God loves the blues, April 23, 2017