As I sat in my parents' car in 2010, I was at one of the lowest points in my life.

It had been several hours since I heard the news from the Miami Marlins, but the shock had yet to wear off. When I woke up that morning, I was a prospect with the Marlins organization and had a bright future ahead of me. Even if I was only a 23rd round pick, I was still a professional baseball player. I had already signed a contract, and allowed myself to envision what a future might look like pitching for the Marlins.

By the time I rode in that car at 2 a.m. that night, that had all come crashing down.

I actually knew something bad might happen when the day started, because I was one of only two players drafted that the Marlins had kept around from the day before. While all the other players left the previous day after getting their physicals, I was still around, wondering why they had kept me so long.

There was no good way to break the news to me, but when I was called in to meet up with the team, they did their best to try.

"We've got some good news and bad news...The good news is, your MRI came back clean - there's no tears or anything. Everything is strong, clean, good," they told me. "But the bad news is our doctors think there's too much inflammation - we don't want to take a risk on you, so we're voiding our contract."

Just like that, my career with the Marlins was over.

As I was fighting back emotions, I had to walk into the locker room and pick up my gear to go home. The Marlins bought me a one-way ticket back to Kansas, and although their journey with me was finished, my own anxiety was just getting started. I had no idea if I was going to head back to college, or if I was even eligible to play, or where my baseball career was headed.

The one thing I did have was my faith. Before my parents picked me up that night, I called the team chaplain from my summer team. Little did I know it, but he was about to give me the Bible verse that changed my life.


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(Title photo courtesy of the Oakland Athletics)

Thomas Hager