A potentially great new pro-life organization, Athletes for Life, has been founded in the United States, with two vitally important objectives: to halt the killing of unborn children and to help establish legal protection for all human life from conception to natural death. This growing group of professional athletes has as its director, Tom Herr, second baseman with the Minnesota Twins, who, until recently, had been an all-star player for many seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.
In an interview with The Interim in Florida, while still a member of the Cardinals, Mr. Herr said that he has made the defence of human life his main ministry for the past five years. “The greatest scourge being inflicted upon our nation today is the Planned Parenthood mentality which promotes abortion on demand. I am constantly writing letters to the media in an effort to expose their evil agenda.”
“Fortunately, because of my reputation as an athlete, most of my letters receive attention and get published – especially in St. Louis and in Lancaster, Pa., where I live in the off season,” he added.
In conjunction with the American Life League, a large pro-life organization in Stratford, Virginia, Tom sent an invitation to every professional baseball player to join Athletes for Life.
Initially, 24 players accepted the opportunity to join (including Kelly Gruber of the Toronto Blue Jays). Herr is not disappointed by the relatively small response (there are over 600 major league ball players).
“God often works with small numbers. He will increase our members as He sees that fitting into His plan. Our influence, especially o the youth of our nation, is already being felt. We have a great opportunity to speak up for life during interviews with the media, when we give speaking engagements and when we receive requests for autographs.
The athletes are asked to send a specially designed pro-life educational pamphlet to all fans who seek autographs through the mail.
The Interim spoke to Whitey Herzog, Tom’s manager for over seven seasons in St. Louis. “he is an inspiration to me and our team,” Mr. Herzog said. His lifestyle sets a great example for us all. He is a class guy and a good Christian and I would support him in anything he is involved in.
Jack Buck, the veteran hall of fame, TV and radio announce for the Cardinals, told The Interim that his teenaged daughters often baby-sit for the Herr’s two young sons. “Both girls are well informed and strong pro-lifers, due in no small part to the influence of Tommy.”
Mr. Herr was also asked how he felt about sidewalk counseling and the picketing of abortuaries. “I cannot think of a more important pro-life activity,” he stressed. “We have to be there to be able to offer our help to those others and provide alternatives. With God’s help, unborn children’s lives are being saved.” The thousands of babies alive today are a great testimony to the efforts of pro-lifers involved in this ministry.
Boldness to speak out
The Interim has had an opportunity to talk with other high-profile ball players and several have indicated a willingness to become involved in Athletes for Life. A number of NFL football players have recently joined including Mark Bavaro of the New York Giants.
Tom Herr has two requests. He asks that pro-lifers pray for the pro-life athletes that they will be given the boldness to speak out for pre-born children. And he asks that if you are a professional athlete or know one from any sport, encourage these persons to lend their name and their participation to Athletes for Life.
Athletes for Life has a special brochure on their work and their commitment. Send your requests fro free copies and other information to Tom Herr, Director Athletes for Life, P.O. Box 1350, Stafford, VA 22554, U.S.A.