Summary: God provides a way for us to get throughout the ballgame of life in hopeless circumstances.
Three Strikes Don’t Always Mean You’re Out
By: Joe Mack Cherry
A. Illustration – Game 4 of the 1941 Baseball World Series
1. NY Yankees vs. Brooklyn Dodgers
a. A rivalry so fierce it continued when the Dodgers left Brooklyn and moved to LA and continues to the present.
b. The Yankees were up two games to one but it looked like Brooklyn would tie the series.
c. Brooklyn was the home team and they were beating the Yankees 3-4 in the top of the ninth with two outs and two strikes on Tommy
d. Henrich swung and missed strike three but Dodger catcher Mickey Owen dropped the ball. The pitch was not even in the strike zone.
2. The Rule
a. “In the event that the catcher fails to catch a third strike, the batter may attempt to advance to first base if…”
1. First base is open or
2. There are two outs
b. If he is tagged out or the catcher throws the ball to first base before the runner crosses the base he is out.
3. Back to the Game
a. Alertly, Henrich reaches first base.
b. Joe DiMaggio singles.
c. Charlie Keller doubles and drives in both Henrich and DiMaggio; so the Yankees take the lead 5-4.
d. The Yankees go on to score two more runs to make the score 7-4 and the Dodgers don’t score in the bottom of the ninth. Yankees win! 1. Four runs scored after the game should have been over
2. Game count is now 3-1 instead of 2-2.
3. Yankees win the next game and the 1941 World Series.
B. Many times Three Strikes is All You Get
1. Society requires that there be limitations and enforcements to protect it from itself.
a. Speed limits – three tickets in a year you lose your license.
b. Payments – miss three in a row and you lose your …
c. Felonies – three convictions and you get life without parole
2. From a Christian standpoint, strike three comes with the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
a. Under these circumstances, the person – not God – has taken themselves out of the game permanently.
b. Deep subject for another time but let it suffice to say that God has limits as to how long He will be ignored. Ex. Rom. 1
3. Some time three is figurative not literal.
a. Six personal fouls allowed in the NBA
b. Two technical fouls in the NBA
II. What Can We Learn from Tommy Henrich and Apply to Our Christian Lives
A. He knew the rules
1. Part of being a good player is “knowing the rules”.
a. Somebody questioned W.C. Fields as to why he was reading the Bible shortly before his death. Field’s replied, “I’m not studying; I’m looking
b. Not the kind of studying to which I am referring.
2. Just because he swung at a “bad” pitch for strike three did not mean the game was over.
3. As Christians we must study the scriptures to know the “rules”.
a. I Tim. 2:15 – “Study to show thyself approved by God…”
b. I Pet. 3:15 – “… be ready always to give an answer…”
c. II Tim. 4:2 – another admonition to be ready always
4. He instinctively ran to first because of his knowledge and experience.
a. As Christians, our goal should be to act instinctively as Christ would.
b. WWJD is not automatically second nature to man.
c. This takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. Gal. 6:9 – Don’t grow weary in well doing, we will reap rewards if we don’t give up.
B. He did not give up even though he messed up
1. It would have been easy to say, “Oh well, we’ll get ‘em tomorrow,” and just let Mickey Owen tag him out.
2. He could have half-heartedly run down to first base and gotten thrown out. Either way the game would have ended in a loss for the Yankees.
3. Life knocks us down and sometime we knock ourselves down; however quitting is not an option for the Christian. He swung at a
4. Countless examples in the scriptures
a. OT – Self imposed – David and Manasseh
b. OT – Satan – Job
c. NT – Self imposed – Peter and the Prodigal Son
d. NT – Satan – Crippled lady in Luke 13
5. He embraced forgiveness. The dropped ball was his chance to move forward after making a mistake.
a. God is a God of Multiple Chances if we seek forgiveness.
1. Matt. 18:21-22 – Peter asked how many times.
2. Think about the examples we just mentioned.
b. Cities of Refuge – Num. 35 and Josh. 20
1. Were not located haphazardly.