For Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals being a superstar baseball player comes with a lot of baggage that he can do without.
He doesn’t like doing interviews. He doesn’t like being idolized.
“I don’t want to seem like it’s all about me, me, me,” Rendon told the Washington Post. “It takes away from what I do for Him, for the Lord.”
He’d prefer simply to do his job on the field.
“He is just a genuinely humble guy,” said Gregg Matte, pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church, who has developed a friendship with Rendon in recent years. “He’s one of the best players in baseball and yet not a lot of people know his name. And so he hasn’t tried to over promote himself at all. He’s just been humble and done his job.”
Part of history
Now Rendon, a Houston native, is part of history. The Nationals won the 2019 World Series in their seventh and final game against the Astros in Houston. And star third baseman Rendon played a big role.
A homer by Rendon in the seventh inning of Game 7 sparked a Nationals comeback. They won the final game 6–2.
Rendon also homered twice in Game 6 and batted in a team-leading eight total runs during the series — a fitting end to the best season of Rendon’s seven-year career.
Though a bit overshadowed in recent years by his former teammate Bryce Harper, Rendon busted out this year after Harper’s departure. He set career-highs in batting average (.319), home runs (34), RBIs (126), on-base percentage (.412) and slugging percentage (.598).
But Rendon keeps a low profile and doesn’t like to flaunt his successes. In a video Matte shot with him in 2018, Rendon referenced a quote from Christian rapper KB.
“They label me as a Christian rapper, but all I know is I want to be more ‘Christian’ than ‘rapper,’” Rendon quoted KB as saying. “I was thinking about that. I want to be known as the Christian baseball player. I’m still trying to grow into that. But at the end I want to be more ‘Christian’ than ‘baseball player.’
“If I just try to stay in the Word and try to surround myself with good people and have good community I think that will just guide me on that path.”
‘Bigger things going on’
In post-Game 7 interviews Rendon put the game into perspective.
“I feel like there’s bigger things going on in this world,” Rendon told The New York Times. “A baseball game might get magnified because it’s the World Series, but we’re not taking bullets for our country in Afghanistan or wherever it might be. This should be a breeze.”
Matte, who is Rendon’s pastor in the off-season and author of “Difference Makers: How to Live a Life of Impact and Purpose” said Rendon is definitely a “difference maker.”
“Anthony is a big-time difference maker on the field and even more importantly off the field,” he said.
“Humility, kindness and trust shine through him, showing he has more than just a great glove. He has a great heart.”
Matte said Rendon is “very laid back,” and that comes from a place of trust in the Lord that despite the pressure situations he’s in, with thousands of people watching him, Rendon can relax and do his job.
‘Just a great guy’
Matte and his son Greyson recently went to Washington to see the Nationals play. Rendon got them tickets and met them after the game, providing them with autographs and spending time with them.
“We talked to one of the coaches on the team who just bragged about what a difference maker Anthony is on the team, and just a great guy,” Matte said. (BP, TAB)
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