Baseball and Miracles
Profile on: Jerry Colangelo, Chairman/CEO Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks
During press interviews prior to embarking on the now legendary 2001 World Series against the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks Chairman and CEO Jerry Colangelo was asked what his prediction was for the outcome of the series. Jerry’s response was immediate. “I don’t predict, but I’ll tell you what I would pray for.”
“What’s that?” The reporters asked.
“That the series goes seven games, that we win at the bottom of the ninth inning in front of our home crowd, that the bases are loaded with two outs and that Gonzo is at the plate.”
How’d he do that?
Amazingly, seven games later, that’s almost exactly what did happen. The only thing Jerry didn’t get was his second out. When Gonzo – All Star leftfielder Luis Gonzalez – stepped up to the plate and made his game-winning base hit, the Diamondbacks had only one man out. As Jerry stood and watched those final, tension-filled moments with his wife, he couldn’t believe his eyes. “I said, this happens to other people; you read about it, see it in movies. But it’s really happening right here, right now!”
Although Jerry realizes God didn’t win the series for the Diamondbacks, he’s certain his prayer and the prayers of others had a hand in all that took place. After all, just getting the Diamondbacks to the series was a miracle in itself, seeing as the team had lost their closing pitcher as well as 40 percent of their starting line-up at the beginning of the year. In addition, this was only the fourth year of the Diamondbacks existence, and it was Jerry’s first year at the helm.
Finding the answers
While it may seem odd to pray for a win at the World Series, faith has always been as much a part of Jerry’s life as baseball. The way he sees it, a lot of people go through life searching for answers but never really find them. However, Jerry believes the object of their search is a lot closer than they think. “As we consider a realistic, practical approach to some really basic questions like, ’What is life all about?’ ‘Why are we here?’ and ‘What’s expected of us?’ there’s a pretty viable option available, and that is Jesus Christ,” says Jerry. “If we look at his life, his principles and the Bible, there are a lot of answers there, solutions to questions people spend their lifetime exploring without any satisfaction.”
Have you been struggling with the big questions of life? How about looking to Jesus for the answers? If you don’t know Jesus, we encourage you to pray the following:
Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person You want me to be. Amen.
Jerry Colangelo has been regarded as one of the top owners in professional sports. He is one of the latest members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Jerry moved to the Valley of the Sun in 1968 to take over the expansion Phoenix NBA franchise as the youngest general manager in professional sports. In addition, he brought Major League Baseball to the Valley in 1998 and serves as Managing General Partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks who won the World Series over the New York Yankees in thrilling fashion in 2001.
He was an outstanding athlete in his own right. He enrolled at the University of Kansas but transferred after his prospective teammate, Wilt Chamberlain, left the Jayhawks for a pro contract. He transferred to the University of Illinois where he earned All-Big Ten honors, captained the Fighting Illini as a senior and was later inducted into the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame. He also played two years of baseball at Illinois.
The author of a book titled “How You Play the Game“, Jerry gives insight into the business world of sports and his own life. Proceeds from the book sales go to YoungLife of Arizona, Phoenix Suns Charities and Arizona Diamondbacks Charities.
He and wife, Joan, have four children, six granddaughters and four grandsons.