FORWARD TO: “WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES….EVERY MAN’S JOURNEY TO SIGNIFICANCE.”
My baseball career had ended and I was starting a new career in business and struggling with what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life. That is when I met Dan Hettinger. He was starting a church in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Right away, I saw that Dan and I had a couple of things in common. One was our belief in Jesus Christ as Our Lord and Savior and the other, our love of baseball. I knew the game of baseball pretty well. I didn’t know the Lord’s game very well.
I was looking to grow in my knowledge of the Bible so Dan and I started a Men’s Bible Study shortly after we met. We also invested about a year in 1 to 1 Discipleship in his office or at Waffle House early one morning a week.
I shared a lot of baseball stories with Dan over the years. Good ones and not so good ones. As time went by, Dan kept telling me he was going to write a book of encouragement based on my life and experiences in baseball. So, we put it on our prayer list. I kept telling Dan we had a couple of things going against us. Dan was an unknown writer and I was a “not so famous, old ballplayer” that many people may not remember since my career wasn’t one for the record books. Dan kept saying, “If the Lords want this book to be written, He’ll take care of it.” So He did and this is my story.
I come from middle America. We never had much growing up but, we were never in need either. My dad was a hard working pipe fitter in an oil refinery. From my days growing up, to my career in baseball to my transition into the business world to retirement, it seems I’ve always been the guy in the middle. Every championship team I played on and successful business I was involved in would not have succeeded without “the middle man.”
But being in the middle does not mean mediocre. I always wanted to be the best and I dreamed big, trained hard and competed intensely and I made it to the Big Leagues—even the World Series three times! Every man wants success, dignity and respect--to make it to the Big Leagues or to the top of his profession. He wants to be significant.
Dan said that there is often a difference between those who inspire and those who encourage. Inspiration comes from the stars in position of strength and success. Encouragement comes from those who are defined by struggle and empathy. I believe the latter best describes my life.
Through this book project, I’ve come to realize in a deeper way that, even though I was not the most famous baseball player, my career and my life mattered to God. I was significant for who I was and when I lived that way, my life made an impact. Now I want to be an encourager for those who know me and hear me speak or read about my life. I want others to discover their God given significance. I pray that reading this book will encourage you as much as working on it with Dan, has given me a clearer belief in my God give significance.
“I cannot begin to express the profound impact that ‘Welcome to the Big Leagues’ has had in my life. In telling the story of Darrel Chaney and opening up to tell his own, Dan Hettinger has crafted a powerful testimony that revealed to me the heart of my Heavenly Father and His divine purpose for my life. I realize the hyperbole of such a statement, but the truth of God's love often defies description; much like the Big League dreams of a small town kid coming true.”
- Richard B., Worship Leader & sports geek.
“‘Welcome to the Big Leagues’ has very encouraging applications to real life lessons. Darrel, in baseball and Dan, in ministry, experienced the same kind of things that I experienced in my career and, in fact, all men face during their lives. We may not be All-Stars, but our lives matter to our families, our friends, ourselves, but most of all to God. This book encouraged me to measure my worth as if through God's eyes and not my own. After all, it is His plan, not ours.”
- Carl K., Chemist, cancer and heart attack survivor and Giants fan—even before they called San Francisco “home”.
“A true gem. This book helps me see that God loves me more than I love myself.”
- Bob D., retired Golf Pro.
“‘Welcome to the Big Leagues’ addresses the spiritual void in every man in this country. It encourages in the areas of struggle and disappointment where we have been hit the hardest. As the dad of an 11 year old and having coached 100's of kids with some success, I can relate to Darryl's struggles. Add to that my work tribulations and this book is just what I need to keep encouraging me.”
- Doug B., Wealth Advisor, Rockies fan and Little League coach.
“I love ‘Welcome to the Big Leagues,’ especially the chapter on heroes. Living most of my life without a dad, I see the need and want to be the hero God has made me to be for my son and daughter. It is amazing to think that God made me to be a hero. I can believe that when I understand my God given significance.”
- Steve M., Aero Space Process Consultant, aka Rocket Scientist, and life-long Dodgers fan.
“Dan in ‘Welcome to the Big Leagues,’ has a unique niche to anyone who has been competitive in their life. Through the career of a baseball player, Dan has displayed the essence of perseverance and struggles that build character. In these challenges we can realize the never ending pursuit of that our Creator has for us that leads to our pursuit of Him. It is a riveting tail of the incredible grace and love the Father has for us. Through his writing Dan has provided an arena for the reader to see how faithful the Creator of the universe is to us.”
- Peter F., Wealth Creation, Transformation and Contribution Specialist
“A great read for any sports fan. I was inspired and encouraged as I read the true story of Darrell Chaney, a baseball player with ‘The Big Red Machine’ and Atlanta Braves, and the life lessons drawn out of his journey—I think it could work for every man. Darrell’s story combined with Dan’s parallel spiritual lessons make for a powerful and engaging read. I wish I had this book 20 years ago!”
- Thom R., Biotech Executive and long time Atlanta Braves fan
For more information go to www.welcometothebigleagues.org
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