I love Angels baseball and I love memoirs, so when I recently found a copy of Beyond Belief - Finding the Strength to Come Back by Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, it was a no-brainer.
You see, I knew the 18-year-old left-handed slugger was the #1 pick in the 1999 baseball draft.
I knew Hamilton earned a $3.96 million signing bonus by the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
And many people who follow baseball know that Hamilton, (who co-wrote the book with ESPN's Tim Keown), had some drug and alcohol related issues in his early days of playing professional baseball.
The word "some" is, however, the understatement of the decade when it comes to Hamilton, who turns 34 in May.
I had no idea how bad, how quickly and how far Hamilton fell... and how close he came to ending up as just another dead crack head in a rundown trailer park.
Originally released in 2008 (and updated as a paperback in 2010) Hamilton is a courageous man who honestly shares his very sordid free fall from a gifted life many of us can only dream of living.
I was speechless at the end of many chapters, and kept wondering how in God's name could he ever come back from this latest self-inflicted disaster.
According to Hamilton, it was God's grace and God's timing.
Amen to that, then.
Since October 2005, when he accepted the spiritual assistance that gave him the strength to turn his back on drugs, Hamilton has worked hard and earned a second chance to live the life he was meant to lead.
Except for several well publicized relapses in 2009 and 2012, Hamilton has lived a clean, sober life for nearly ten years and continues to play in the Major Leagues. (Signed by Tampa Bay, he made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007, played five seasons with the Texas Rangers and signed with the Angels in December 2012.)
A native of North Carolina, he is married to long-time love, Katie, and father to their four daughters.
Beyond Belief is a such an inspiring story, and I would highly recommend it for anyone fighting an addiction, struggling to find hope or simply wanting to see how God does indeed work in mysterious ways. (I guess there really are Angels in the outfield :)
I've always wanted Hamilton to play well in an Angels uniform, but now all I want is to share his amazing journey -- especially in the last decade.
"Well played, Hamilton, well played."
Josh Hamilton was the first player chosen in the first round of the 1999 baseball draft. He was destined to be one of those rare "high-character " superstars. But in 2001, working his way from the minors to the majors, all of the plans for Josh went off the rails in a moment of weakness. What followed was a 4-year nightmare of drugs and alcohol, estrangement from friends and family, and his eventual suspension from baseball.
BEYOND BELIEF details the events that led up to the derailment. Josh explains how a young man destined for fame and wealth could allow his life to be taken over by drugs and alcohol. But it is also the memoir of a spiritual journey that breaks through pain and heartbreak and leads to the spectacular rebirth of his major-league career.
|Ezra Shaw/Getty Images|
Josh Hamilton makes no excuses and places no blame on anyone other than himself. He takes responsibility for his poor decisions and believes his story can help millions who battle the same demons. "I have been given a platform to tell my story" he says. "I pray every night I am a good messenger." Also, as part of the paperback edition of BEYOND BELIEF, Josh's journey has been updated to include developments in his recovery.
|Found on Zimbio.com|