This blog is called “Living up to My Name” because my surname – Page – means servant to the king, and I strive to live my life in service to the King of Kings. This post will focus on a man whose name put him in the record books before he ever took a swing in the Majors. His 14 letter last name is the longest in baseball history. I like unusual last names and have considered putting together “all-name” teams in various sports. In case you are wondering, Saltalamacchia is italian for “jumps over the thicket” according to Wikipedia. So while his name has caught some attention, he has even had a coffee shop drink named after him, “Salty” has been striving to make his name known for more than the number of letters.
Drafted in the first round of the 2003 draft by the Atlanta Braves, Saltalamacchia broke into the majors on his 22nd birthday – May 2nd, 2007. He has had some highlights – some multiple home run games including 7 rbi game in a 30-3 win against the Baltimore Orioles as a member of the Texas Rangers. He also owns the record for non-pitchers in consecutive games with at least 1 strikeout.
He would be on my all-name team – and as a collector of sports jerseys, I would love to have a Saltalamachia jersey to wear. And it would look great hanging beside my Biakabutuka and Fuamatu-Ma’afala football jerseys.
A better reason to cheer for Saltalamacchia is his faith in God. He went to a Christian conference in 2010 and gave his life to Christ. I watched a video of his talk at Faith Day, and while the video is no longer available to be embeded, Salty challenged me in the following ways.
1- All In
Salty talks about being being “all in” in his faith in God. He spoke about how he thought going to Bible study, and thanking God at the end of the day is what it is all about. But He learned that it is more than that. Like a poker player, confident in his hand, goes “all in” and puts everything he has into the pot – that is how we are to live every day – not holding anything back, but giving everything we’ve got to serving God. The beauty is, unlike that poker player, we can be confident that we have the best hand. We will never lose when we go all in with God.
2- God Loves Him
Saltalamacchia shares a story about being angry at how it all ended in Texas, and how his oldest daughter saw the “bad man” (Rangers manager) on TV. When “daddy” tries to correct her, she says “I know – God loves him”. He talks about the joy of seeing his kids understanding about God’s love and loving people who we may not like for one reason or another. As a dad, I know that kids see and hear a lot more then we think. Saltalamacchia’s daughter heard the good and the bad – that man was the “bad man” but God loves him anyway. Kids pick up on the things that we say and think. Like Saltalamacchia, I hope and pray that my kids pick up on the good things I teach them about who God is and how He calls us to live.
3- More than who we are, it’s whose we are
Salty is in the record books because of who he is – because of his long last name. But more importantly, his place in heaven is set because of whose he is. The same is true for each of us. We have a short time on this planet. How are we going to live: to make a name for ourselves, or to reflect the God who created us and desires to use us to impact lives.