Ted Barrett had made a deal with God, or so he thought, when he was a young umpire in the minor leagues.
He wondered for a while if God was calling him into ministry. He promised God that if baseball didn’t work out, and that if he never got a job in the big leagues, then he’d pursue that calling.
Barrett did more than just get a job in the big leagues. As the umpire crew chief for this year’s World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers, he has reached the pinnacle of his profession.
“This is the top,” Barrett said. “It’s the ultimate honor. I remember when I set out to go to umpire school 30 years ago, and we would talk about one day maybe one of us would get to be crew chief for the World Series, and here it is.
“So, yeah. I feel very fortunate, very blessed and really just excited,” he said.
And yet, even with the success Barrett has seen in the big leagues, God didn’t leave him alone about that whole ministry thing. He got the Major League job and assumed that meant baseball was where God wanted him. But Barrett couldn’t shake the feeling that God was calling him to ministry, and he battled that conflict for a while. Barrett thought it was a dirty trick.
“I was like, ‘No, I’m a big league umpire,'” Barrett said. “This wasn’t part of the deal that we had.”
Only then, after Barrett ultimately surrendered to God’s calling, did the Lord reveal to him what has become the focus of Barrett’s life for the past several years — that God wanted him in ministry right where he was as a Major League umpire.
So that’s what Barrett has pursued. He’s been in the big leagues full-time since 1999, and this is the fourth World Series he has worked.
Barrett is the only umpire in Major League history to be behind the plate for two perfect games — David Cone in 1999 and Matt Cain in 2012.
But it’s his role as a minister to other umpires that gets Barrett especially excited.
“It’s been amazing,” Barrett said. “The transformation of guys who God’s brought out of addictions. He’s broken chains. He’s restored marriages. He’s restored relationships with their children. I’ve seen prodigal children get prayed for and come back. I’ve seen miracles happen in people with cancer. We’ve laid hands on them and God’s healed them.”
Barrett and another umpire, Rob Drake, began the ministry Calling for Christ, which exists to reach, teach, make disciples of Christ and win souls for the kingdom of God. The organization’s main outreach is an annual retreat for umpires in the offseason that is a time for them to worship together and hear from different speakers.
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Source: Baptist Press