Trot Nixon has had more than his share of highlights. He's been a number one draft choice, he's signed a letter of intent to play quarterback at North Carolina State, he's received many minor league awards, he's hit walk-off homeruns, he's played in game 7's, he's been involved in one of the most dramatic comebacks in playoff history, and he's won a World Series.
But ask him what the most important thing in his life is, and without hesitation, he will say "Jesus Christ." In fact, according to Trot, all his accomplishments and highlights pale in comparison to his relationship with Jesus.
He started playing baseball at an early age, playing T-ball. Along the way he developed a love of football, and was ready to go to North Carolina State on a football scholarship. But the Red Sox stepped in and tendered a contract to their first round pick that was to Trot's liking, and he was signed.
His progress through the minors was not meteoric. There have been other first-rounders who exploded upon the major league scene far more quickly than did Trot - of course there are first-rounders who have fizzled out as well.
1999 brought Trot's first extended major league service, and while he started slowly, and after the first month and half was hitting below .100, he finished the year hitting .270.
His first homerun was memorable - hit off Roger Clemens in the night to bring a pitching duel between Clemens and Pedro Martinez to a dramatic conclusion.
Since that time, Trot has been a steady and clutch performer for the Red Sox, culminating in 2004 when the Sox beat the Cardinals in the World Series. That was the end of the curse - the "five letter word" as Trot calls it. It had been 86 years between World Championships, and the drought finally ended. "It was special not only for us and our families and Boston, but for all the teams," says Nixon, "For guys like Johnny Pesky and Dwight Evans - it was wonderful for them as well."
Trot's faith grew in much the same way his baseball career developed - slowly, but surely. He had been raised in the church, and knew about Jesus, and what Jesus had done, but he was not connected - he was "walking alone" as he says.
A family friend led him to accept Jesus as his Savior, and Trot began to go to church and chapel, and tried to associate with the kind of guys who went to chapel, but didn't immediately start "pushing forward", in his words. He held back. He didn't have a devotional time, and didn't pray as much as he could have, thinking that he didn't know how to pray. "I always thought praying had to be eloquent. Now I know that it's just talking to God."
And he had always thought that stories in the Bible were stories specific to Jesus and His disciples and the challenges they faced. Once he got into the Bible, he discovered that the challenges Jesus and the disciples faced are the same challenges people still face. "You think they're different stories," Trot says, "But they're not. We can persevere, through good times or bad, because we're not alone. Jesus went through it too. He will never leave us, and will never set anything our path we can't handle."
For all the highlights that Trot has experienced, this is the greatest - knowing Jesus.
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