Josh Hamilton was again falling victim to what is one of the deadliest things the world has to offer; addiction. In this case, the addiction being drugs and alcohol made the situation even more complicated because of the difficulty and vigorous process it takes to kick such a habit to the curb.
After days, weeks, and even a string of months of progress, Hamilton slipped up and as said previously, he began hiding his renewed drug use from his wife Katie and family. He even pawned his wife’s ring just to get ahold of cocaine.
In the fall of 2006, the former potential face of Major League Baseball had hit rock bottom. 50 pounds lighter, a night and day personality change, and a ghostly presence that brought tears and desperation to his shriveled, weak face. Katie kicked Josh out of the house, and in the following nights Josh Hamilton wound up on street corners, in dark alleys, and appeared in the headlights of vehicles traveling on the highway in the late night/early morning hours. If this were to go on another night, perhaps there would be no more of Josh Hamilton the next day.
The next chapter of Hamilton’s incredible story is the pinnacle, and it’s grandma. Josh’s grandmother, Mary Holt, brought him into her home with open arms, the only pair that remained that way in Hamilton’s life. This was his last shot and she knew it. She, like Katie, wanted Josh better so bad but also greatly cared for the game of baseball and his passion for the game he was meant to play. But the only thing on the mind of the former top pick in all of baseball was achieving one thing – his next high. Man, those words are devastating to type.
Josh’s grandmother Mary gave Josh the final chance he would not find elsewhere and if there was to be a happy ending to Hamilton’s story, it was now or never. Mary was the only one left willing to give Josh a fighting chance.
After moving in with his grandmother, Mary Holt put her grandson on a strict daily schedule. As someone who suffers from a different form of demons themself, the value of constant structure in your life is invaluable in the road to recovery. Any free time is a huge risk to someone trying to overcome such a powerful obstacle. Holt prepared big, hearty meals for Josh every day and encouraged – well actually forced – Josh to stay active and seek out any sort of opportunities, whether it be in the form of a person or a job. He found both with Roy Silver and “The Winning Inning.”
“The Winning Inning” was a baseball training academy that incorporates the fundamentals of Christianity and baseball. Silver came across a news headline about Hamilton and invited him to work on the academy’s staff. Mary Holt and Roy Silver saw the glimmer of hope hidden behind the ruins of what drugs and alcohol had done to Josh Hamilton.
Josh would clean bathrooms, help customers and staff, and also take care of the field’s condition. Before his grandmother took him in, there were nights when a broke Hamilton would sleep at the facility on an air mattress. Bottom line, “The Winning Inning” gave Josh Hamilton and his life a complete game.
College teams would often rent out the field and one day while Hamilton was tidying up the bullpen, he asked the aspiring athletes if he could toss a few baseballs. Josh Hamilton threw a baseball for the first time in roughly three years and struck the catcher’s mitt at 95 mph. A row of jaws dropped at the heat and the anger behind an amazing arm they just saw. Perhaps still at 25 years very, very young and after so much torment and pain and loss, Josh Hamilton still had it.
Final Piece Next Week…