When the Oakland A’s played their home opener April 3, all eyes were on Kendall Graveman. An Alexander City-born pitcher, he led the team to a 4–2 victory against the Angels that night.
It was a big moment, Graveman said — but even bigger is the platform he has to tell kids, youth and college students that even the job of your dreams won’t fill the void that Christ is meant to fill.
If anyone looks to him, Christ is the one Graveman wants them to see, he said.
“It’s great to strive for achievements — God has put in all of us a passion for some area, like baseball,” Graveman said. “But when you make it to the pinnacle of what you think your dream is, it is never fulfilling in the way that God is. I want them to know that if they don’t have Christ, they will never fill the void in their heart.”
He spends time in the off season doing missions work and baseball camps in the Caribbean. He also spends time investing in students at Mississippi State University in Starkville, the place where his baseball career took off and where his journey in Christ grew too.
“I had a couple of guys at Mississippi State invest in my life there who were in FCA, and they took me into high schools in the morning to share with students,” he said. “I grew in my faith and I also realized how I could use my platform to open greater conversations about the gospel.”
He’s in “high demand” for those types of conversations, according to Matt Haines, pastor of Graveman’s home church, Sixth Street Baptist Church, Alexander City.
“Kendall is a commendable example of a young man who has achieved much personal and professional success while at the same time staying true to his relationship with Jesus Christ,” Haines said, noting that Graveman learned a lot about love of God and his church from his parents, Gary and Sharon Graveman.
Kendall Graveman said he learned a lot about baseball from his dad too.
“My dad is a baseball coach, and spending time together by playing baseball was always a thing for the two of us and my brother,” he said. “He had a passion for us to spend time together as a family.”
And along the way, Kendall Graveman developed a passion for the game too.
“God blessed me with the ability to be able to play and use that platform to tell others about Him,” he said.
That season opener with the A’s was a dream come true, he said. “It was very special. My parents were able to come out and be there for the game.”
And leading the Mississippi State team to place runner-up in the College World Series in 2013 also was a big moment for Kendall Graveman.
But none of that touches the satisfaction found in Christ, he said. “People have a lot of different dreams — to be a well-known artist, a successful CEO or start your own business and become wealthy. But the most important thing is that God needs to be the center of your life.”
That shows in Kendall Graveman’s life during the baseball season too as he tries to show Christ’s love to his teammates and the coaching staff.
Haines said the pitcher understands that his professional success is a gift from God and “he does a great job stewarding that gift to the glory of God.”
He’s a “well-respected and honored hometown hero” in Alexander City, Haines said. “He is the real deal — extremely humble and pursuing Christ.”
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