James McCann - Mark 10:27
Detroit Tiger Catcher, James McCann. Photo by Keith Allison
This is the time of year in which the Hot Stove is heating up! Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings just wrapped up, meaning that trades are occurring, free agents are signing with new teams, and the Rule 5 draft was just completed. I thought it would be a good time to share an article about baseball. And, in honor of our music director, Mike Renneker, who's a big Tiger fan, I thought I'd focus on Tiger's catcher, James McCann. If you enjoy articles like these, please check out my other blog, A Lamp unto My Cleats.
Jim and Carla McCann were a Christian couple living in Southern California. About 5 years into their marriage, they were ready to start a family. Carla became pregnant, and, for nearly 9 months, everything was perfect. About 3 days before he was due to be born, the boy stopped kicking. Carla went to the doctors and learned that her greatest fear had become reality; her baby boy had died in the womb.
The doctors told the young couple that they could try again, but that it would likely take a long time for her to conceive, due to the trauma her body had just experienced. A few months later, however, she was expecting another baby.
13 weeks into the pregnancy, Carla receive terrible news. She had suffered a tear in the amniotic sac. The child in her womb was given a 1-in-4 chance of surviving. Even if he did survive, however, he was almost certain to be born with mental or physical disabilities. They were given their options and advised to have an abortion.
Carla tells Jason Beck of mlb.com; “Being people of faith, we decided we were going to see it through. It was a leap of faith, but it really wasn’t more than what other people do every day – putting one foot in front of the other.”
Only Carla didn’t take many steps at all for the next 6 months. She stayed in bed, watching a lot of Lakers games and a lot of Dodgers baseball games. She jokes that she named her son James after James Worthy, and knew he would be a baseball fan because of how much baseball she watched.
On June 13, 1990, Carla gave birth to a healthy baby boy! He had no physical handicap. No mental handicap. When she first saw her newborn child, her first words to him were “not bad for a 1-in-4 chance.”
That child grew up to be an All-American Catcher at the University of Arkansas. He became the 76th overall pick for the Detroit Tigers in the 2nd Round of the 2011 draft. He made his major league debut on September 1, 2014, and became the Tigers starting catcher the following year; pretty impressive for a man that was never supposed to be born in the first place!
James McCann knows why this all happened. It was all a gift from God. He now includes his favorite Bible Verse, Mark 10:27, along with the autographs he signs. Jesus says “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” This verse is very personal to McCann. He explained in an interview with Liberty University; “From day one, the doctors said it was impossible. That’s man telling my parents it was impossible. And, obviously, God had other plans… But when you put your faith in God and you trust in god, He has a bigger and better plan that that.”
In Galatian 6:17, Paul says that he bears in his body the marks of Jesus. He urges the Christians in Galatia that, when they gaze upon the scars from the beatings he suffered for trying to preach the Gospel, they should be reminded of the wounds that Jesus suffered for them on the cross. Likewise, the life, health, and success of James McCann serve as a daily reminder of the power of God. To Him, all things are possible; even what man says is impossible.