(LAKELAND, FL) – Children on the Lakeland campus of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes (FBCH) and One More Child welcomed a famous visitor recently. John Denny, a former Major League Baseball pitcher who won the National League Cy Young Award in 1983, visited the campus to share with children the role faith has played in his life and journey as a pro athlete.
Dressed in his Philadelphia Phillies jersey, Denny spoke to children who live on the FBCH campus as well as those who attend Kamp KIRM, a camp put on by Keepin’ It Real Ministries, a local ministry partner of FBCH and One More Child.
The main focus of his speech was to lean on God through everything and store up treasures in heaven. He made the point in contrast to the many earthly treasures he brought with him.
Denny brought his collection of awards and memorabilia. Among these items were a plaque commemorating his Cy Young Award, an assortment of baseball cards, pictures from his career and a World Series ring that Denny earned as a rehabilitation pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Denny taught the audience different pitching techniques and ways to hold a baseball. At the end of the event, he shook each child’s hand and gave away autographed photos. In addition to his autograph, Denny also wrote “Romans 10:9.”
Denny played in the MLB from 1974 to 1986. He was drafted when he was 17 years old. He played five seasons in the minor leagues before getting promoted to the major leagues. Denny played five seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, three seasons with the Cleveland Indians, three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and one season with the Cincinnati Reds.
During his MLB career, Denny won many awards. In 1976, he tied for youngest pitcher to win an ERA title. In 1983, in addition to winning a Cy Young award, he was also named Comeback Player of the Year and Sporting News National League Pitcher of the Year.
After his baseball career, he was a rehabilitation pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Denny is now retired and resides in Winter Garden, Fla.
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