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Integrity of the Game

On August 11th, 2013 Major League Baseball suspended over a dozen players for Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED). Alex Rodriguez himself received a 211 game suspension of which he is appealing and continuing to play at this time. Everyone these days are talking about the integrity of the game. Integrity of the game starts with the individual in all of us. We have a higher calling than just integrity in the game of baseball. What about integrity in the game of life that God calls for in everyone?
It all starts with a definition of the word.  Integrity implies honesty, fairness, ethics, and moral character.  It comes from two Greek words 'integritas' and 'integra' meaning whole.  It enters into all aspects of our lives.  It is a belief system without faltering.  A firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. An unimpaired condition and the quality or state of being complete and undivided. It is adherence to moral and ethical principles, soundness of moral character, and honesty
.  It is important in the game of baseball because of the integrity of historical achivements and lifetime career statistics.  How much more then is it important in the game of life.  We won't take our career batting average or runs batted in to eternity with us.  Things like that will stay here long after we are gone.  We should be more concerned with how we play the game of life and what we can take with us to our eternal home.  Living with integrity requires personal sacrifice, but the eternal rewards outweigh whatever we give up in life and it must be protected.     
God talks to us in the following four scriptures from his word about integrity:
Psalm 119:1-2 God promises Joy
"Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search with all their hearts."
Proverbs 2:6-7 God promises Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Common Sense
"For the Lord grants wisdom! from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity."
Proverbs 10:9 God promises Safety and Protection
"People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall."
Titus 2:7 We are an Example.
"And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching."   
I believe this speaks to all people, not just athletes and entertainers that we are all examples and must have integrity.   






The celebration of Robert's life will be held at Jubilee Baptist Church in Daphne, Alabama on
Wednesday, July 31, 2013.  It will begin with a visitation at 11:00 AM and will be followed
by a memorial service at Noon.  All are invited to stay for a light lunch after the service










2014 Fantasy Camp
Date Announcement 
Friday March 7th,
Saturday March 8th,
Sunday March 9th, 2014
Hank Aaron Stadium
Mobile, Alabama
Start Making Plans Now!!! 

Character, what is it and what does it have to do with baseball? Integrity, honesty, hard work: where have they gone? With the exposure of PED use in Major League Baseball this has become a viable question. It seems things are backwards. If you tell the truth and talk about those who are using, you are a squealer, a snitch. So what do we do? Allow PEDs in baseball or clean up the game and bring it back to America's favorite past time. I want to give accolades to those who are clean, to those are standing up for what is right. Thank you! To Bud Selig, thank you for your desire to bring the game back.  Let's get behind this. Let's bring the focus back to the game. We are giving way to much attention to those who are doing the wrong thing. Why are we reinforcing the behavior of players such as Arod? He has had more media time for doing the wrong  thing than he ever had for his playing ability. Who do we want our kids to look up to? I have a 15 year old grandson. I want him to look up to guys like Mike Trout, Matt Kemp, Dustin Pedroia, and Johnny Gomes who are willing to speak up and take risks to do the right thing.  
Philippians 4:8 tells us, " Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is  pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- keep your mind on these things." Let's start living our lives the way God has called us to. Let start glorifying God in everything we do. 

After hearing and seeing the recent event of J.A. Happ being hit in the head by a line drive off the bat
I wonder if we will ever see pitchers required to wear a protective helmet or face mask in the Major Leagues.
  I know the League is looking into it and considering options possibly starting out in the Minor Leagues. It could be an inner protective liner in the cap or a full helmet like those worn by the base coaches.

First let us go back to the mid 1960's when I began my baseball career. 
I wore a batting helmet even in the Minor Leagues though it was not mandatory.  In 1971 Major League Baseball made it mandatory for all players to use one. However, any players who were already in the Major Leagues had the option of wearing one. 
 Fellow Cincinnati Reds Star Pete Rose wore a plastic
insert head liner under his cap that just protected the skull.  Some players like Brooks Robinson and
Carl Yastrzemski even had their helmets altered.  Brooks had his helmet brim shortened and Carl
had his ear flap changed.    

Norm Cash of the Detroit Tigers never wore one. My team mate Bob Montgomery of the 1975 World Series Boston Red Sox is credited with being the last player not to wear one and finished his career in 1979. Then in 1983 three years after I retired the League office made it mandatory for new players to use a helmet with at least one ear flap.  Again, current players had the option to wear an ear flap. 
Tim Raines was the last Major Leaguer to wear a helmet without earflaps and ended his career with
the Florida Marlins in 2002. 

It seems that when all the current veterans of my era finished their careers it just became the norm to all players since and they have gotten use to wearing one. Technology has made them a lot more comfortable and safe than those worn during my career.

As important as a helmet can be in the game of baseball I am reminded of the importance of a helmet in the  game of life. The apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter 6 wrote about the helmet of salvation.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the 
        rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand
         in the evil  day,   and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate
         of righteousness;
15 And your  feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts
        of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with
        all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make
        known the mystery of the gospel
  20  For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

In the day of Paul the Roman Army wore a helmet to protect themselves from the attacks of the enemy.
Without the helmet of salvation we are unprotected from the evils of the world we currently live in
and the attacks of Satan that come into our thoughts and minds.   The helmet of salvation also gives us confidence in our future.  Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord
is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

We are also reminded in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 "But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation,"  It reminds us of the importance of protecting the head, a soldier or player can survive a broken arm or leg but an impact to the head can cause instant death or life changing circumstances.  

The only way you can have the protection of the helmet of salvation is to be re- born, the only way to be 
 re-born is by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.  You must believe and repent.

Romans 5:8-10 "But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

If you would like to know more about being re-born in Christ please contact me.

Will we ever see a pitcher in the Major League Baseball wearing a helmet or facemask? I believe it is a possibility. You see it in Little League Baseball and in Girls Softball today. A lot of girls wear helmets
and facemask pitching and playing the infield in softball.  As it becomes more the norm of sports we
could see more of it.  It may be because of a necessity and personal chose of the individual.  Playing baseball has inherent risks to it as does all sports and either we accept them or we don't. But we should take necessary precautions especially with the technology we have today. No one should die or suffer life changing effects from playing baseball.  

You now see most every major contact sport offering some sort of helmet or facial protection.
 Some are required use and some are optional. 
We have seen a progression of head and face safety in NASCAR, Hockey, Football, and even on the Professional Rodeo Circuit. With the youth of today
starting to wear protective head and face gear at an early age it is more likely you may see it happen starting from the bottom up.

Thanks To Everyone who played in the 2013 Fantasy Baseball Camp! It was a Great Success Once Again! 
To God be the Glory! Great Things He has Done!
Hope to see you back next year and bring a friend!


If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions please let us know.  We are looking for current or past photo's, news articles, stories, and video's from Bernie's life, career, and ministry.

Bernie Remembers

Sparky Anderson

On opening day 1970 I hit the longest homerun ever hit in the history of baseball.  It was home at Crosley Field for the Cincinnati Reds against Joe Sparma of the Montreal Expos.  I hit the ball over the center field wall where I-75 ran behind the stadium. It landed on a truck going south on the interstate and traveled 1,300 miles to Florida.  I started that season off well hitting over 300 with alot of homeruns. On June 24th we played the last game ever at Crosley against the San Francisco Giants.  We then moved to the new Riverfront Stadium downtown. The summer was getting hot and I got into my first slump.  So one day Sparky sat me down at the new park and said I want you to look out there on the field Bernie and tell me who is having fun? As I looked out there I could see George Foster, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, David Conception, just tremendous players, all smiling, having fun, and laughing.  He said I can tell you Bernie when I watch players whose fathers were really tough on them when they were growing up playing baseball.  They would short arm the ball.  I want you to understand I'm your father, I love you, I'm your daddy.  Sparky was like my father all through the Minor Leagues to the Major League.  He said I want you to extend yourself, don't be afraid to make a mistake.  The other thing too I'm going to be there for you and I'm going to love you.  I don't want you to fear striking out.  These guys here love the game, they are not afraid to fail, and its ok to fail.  What he was trying to say to me was your struggling now, but don't be afraid to extend yourself reaching out or diving for a ball.  I'm going to be there to support you and I'm not going to get onto you for missing a ball.  I want you to go to the plate and be aggressive.  I don't care about you striking out if your not hitting the ball.  I am there for you and I love you.  Sparky did and he was my daddy.  
As I came to know Jesus Christ as my Savior I was a Jesus freak and I love Jesus Christ.  Sometimes when you don't have a relationship in a sense with your earthly father you don't want to know about God the Father.  God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.  I remember God saying to me I gave my only begotten Son Jesus Christ for you Bernie, that he died on that cross.  God said I'm the Father, I did this, you need to know who I am, and through my Christian walk and journey i've gotten to know God the Father.  He is my Father and my Savior Jesus Christ.  I am learning in my walk to listen and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide my path and teach me to stand firm and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  My path and journey is letting God guide me and to be obedient and have faith in him.  God is a loving Father.  Sparky was a loving Father.
In 1975 I had the opportunity to bring the relationship back together with Sparky in friendship and love to say I was sorry for what happened early in my career in 1972-73.  I wanted to make amends with him and he said don't worry about it.  And thats the truth, its something that I will never forget.   God wants to be your Father! He does not want you to have a spirit of fear!  He wants to love you! 
Earl Weaver

In 1975 while I was playing for Boston we were on the road in Baltimore against the Orioles and I am on the on deck circle tampering with my bat which I sometimes did.  As I make my way to the plate I see Earl Weaver on the top step of their dugout.  As I get closer to the batter's box he comes out of their dugout and calls time out walking toward the umpire.
I make a u-turn back to our dugout to get another bat and he is screaming at me to come back with the bat.          

Back five years earlier in 1970 while I was with the Cincinnati Reds we played Baltimore in the World Series.  In the first game I slide into home and Elrod Hendricks the Orioles catcher tags me with his glove but the ball is in his hand and I am called out by Ken Burkhart the home plate umpire.  Sparky Anderson our manager comes running out of the dugout to argue and tells me if I get thrown out by the umpire he will fine me $5,000 and I only made $10,000 that whole year.  Every time Earl Weaver would see me years later he would always say to me Bernie your still out! That play is still one of the top five ESPN sports bloopers of all time.

Stan Musial

One day while I was playing for the St. Louis Cardinals I asked Stan Musial how did he hit the low slider? He was always in the St. Louis Clubhouse and had a great smile and was always very friendly.  He says come to the ball park tomorrow at 9 AM by the batting cage. That next morning he gets into his stance and says to me very seriously See it and hit it!   I thought Oh Boy! Oh Boy! See it and hit it! He was the Ted Williams of the National League.

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