You may be a hardcore baseball fan, but I’ll still bet you’ve never heard of Tommy “Buckshot” Brown. On August 20, 1945 he became the youngest player ever to hit a home run in a Major League game. At the tender age of 17 years and 257 days, he connected with a pitch from the legendary Pirates’ hurler, Preacher Roe, and launched it into the left field stands at Ebbets Field.
Five days later, in a game against the Giants, he became the second youngest player to hit a home run in a Major League game.
You can imagine how excited people were about the kid. In much the same way people today talk about the Nationals’ Bryce Harper (who arrived in the Majors at 19), fans were raving about the future young Tommy “Buckshot” Brown had in front of him.
Except that you’d never heard of him until twenty seconds ago. So what happened?
Simply put, Tommy was a victim of circumstance. He joined the Dodgers near the end of World War II. He’d no more than gotten his feet wet in the Big Leagues when a future Hall of Famer by the name of Pee Wee Reese returned from military service and reclaimed his position…the one that Buckshot was playing.
Suddenly, Buckshot Brown was a once a week substitute. Talented, yes, but no way was he going to take the great Pee Wee Reese’s job. Buckshot languished on the bench, waiting for a chance to break back into the lineup. It never came. He eventually moved on and spent some time with the Phillies and Cubs before retiring from the game in 1953. He was 25.
Sometimes they line up, salute, and get to work making your life a rose-scented bubble bath. Other times they come crashing through the front door of your life like drunken sailors, shattering your dream like a bowling ball through a plate glass window.
This is why you need to be investing in something circumstances can’t touch. Cars, houses, bank accounts, careers and even friendships can be mercilessly smashed by circumstances. You can move into a gated community. You can buy locks, security cameras, and a guard dog. You can load up on insurance and beef up your retirement. You can pinky-swear undying loyalty to your BFF. It doesn’t matter. This very minute circumstances are stalking you. And make no mistake…they will find you and, if they choose, beat you and your dream senseless.
Jesus was talking about this when he said, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
Moths. Rust. Thieves.
Here’s an important question, maybe the most important question: What are you doing…building…storing up that circumstances can’t touch?
For further reflection read 2 Corinthians 4:18.
*Peter Keating, Dingers, A Short History of the Long Ball (New York: ESPN Books, 2006), 55