If it didn’t make my title too long, I would have added “and Wayne Tolleson New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox” as this is as much as story of Steve Tolleson‘s father Wayne, who played for 10 seasons in the majors. In fact, Wayne’s father Jim played in the minor leagues for 7 seasons, too. And so on this Father’s Day weekend, it seems appropriate to talk about this father-son baseball duo and the role that their faith in God plays in their life.
Wayne Tolleson was drafted twice into the Majors. He didn’t sign the first time, and was drafted again the next year (1978) by the Texas Rangers. He made his debut in 1981 and would play over 800 games as an infielder for the 3 teams mentioned above. His debut was made against the Toronto Blue Jays, the team that now employs his son, Steve.
Steve was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2005 and played in the minors with until he was picked up on waivers by the Oakland A’s in 2010. He too would make his debut against the Toronto Blue Jays and collect his first major league hit against them a couple days later. He bounced around some more (San Diego, White Sox and Baltimore) before the Blue Jays signed him in 2013 and invited him to Spring Training.
Both Tollesons have seen action at many positions in their career. They have both spent time at second, third, shortstop, designated hitter and in the outfield. Steve has also appeared as a pitcher .
As you can see, the similarities between their careers is quite something.
Both father and son have built their careers around being able to play many positions and step into to lots of different situations. Baseball is a game and so it sounds like a career in baseball would be a lot of fun, but working through the minors and playing at the top level can be a grind as well. As you can read in this post on John Clayton’s Blog Wayne helps prepare and encourage Steve in this process by reminding him to keep God as the top priority. Steve says
“Dad has always stressed putting God first. God never puts something in front of us or puts in a position that we can handle. . . . Through all the ups and downs with different organizations, I can honestly say that I know now that God put me there for a reason.”
And as you can read in this article from The Citizen Times Wayne is just fine with the career that he had. “God richly blessed my career in terms of longevity, and getting a chance to play every day as a New York Yankee was a highlight of my career”
These days Wayne is a consultant for a great organization “Upward Sports” whose purpose is to introduce youth to Jesus through the medium of sport. They currently offer sports clinics in 6 different sports.
Here are my takeaways from the Tolleson’s story:
1- Being a Son – My father has been a great influence on me. He has modeled a Godly life and while I didn’t follow in his footsteps professionally, I do strive to be a Godly example for my own kids. I also want to live a life that makes my dad proud of me. I know that I have not been a perfect son. I can no doubt claim my share of his gray hairs. But I also have great memories of many wonderful times spent together and life lessons learned with his guidance. Life has put many miles between us, but I don’t feel far away from him. I have been loved and cared for by my earthly father and his support and love is proof that God is alive and working in and through him. Happy Father’s day Dad!
2- Being a Father – I strive to be an example of a Godly life lived with the purpose of following God. I hope to instill in my children the notion that living for God is the most important thing they can do in their life. and wherever it leads them, if they are following God then I am 100% behind whatever they are doing. Fatherhood is an adventure and to see the little pieces of me that make up my children is fun although at times hard. In the good, I see that God is working through me to show His love to my children. And in their imperfection, I am reminded that I am still a work in progress. But in every part of being a dad, I understand more about God’s love for his children. I pray that my life can point them to His perfect love.