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A Grand Slam for God

A Grand Slam for God

A Journey from Baseball Star to Catholic Priest

by Fr. Burke Masters

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Burke Masters had the perfect game plan for his life: he was going to become a Major League Baseball player. As a star infielder for Mississippi State with a game-winning grand slam to help his team reach the College World Series, he was well on his way to the career of his dreams. But little did he know that his life-changing call would not be from a recruiter to join the Major Leagues—it would be from God to become a priest.

In this page-turning memoir, Fr. Burke takes readers on an intimate personal journey—from his childhood outside of Chicago, to his success in baseball, to his conversion to Catholicism, and finally, to his acceptance of his vocation. Amid severe doubt and personal loss, he learned to embrace his fundamental identity—not as an athlete, but as a beloved son of God and a spiritual father to God’s people. Fr. Burke’s story is a powerful reminder that God’s plan for us is so much greater than our own; that it fulfills our dreams in ways greater than we could have imagined; and that if we only have the courage to say yes, every moment is an opportunity for a grand slam for God.

More Info

Publisher: Word on Fire
ISBN: 978-1-68578-993-0
Binding: Hardcover
Page count: 192
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Thickness: 0.77 (in)
Language: English
Release date: Aug 14, 2023
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What People are Saying

 “Every kid has athletic aspirations—dreams of being the one that helps their team win it all. Fr. Burke Masters describes in A Grand Slam for God how he got that moment in college. As you discover through Fr. Burke’s life story, Christ revealed to him that while those particular moments are great, they are not the eternal reward our hearts desire. Through the grace of many other ‘grand slam’ moments in his life—from a religious sister giving him homework to read the Gospel of Matthew, to finding a deep love for the Eucharist after accidentally receiving his First Communion, to unthinkable family tragedy, to the miraculous healing of a little girl, and finally culminating to a full circle moment in 2016—Fr. Burke’s life shows us that certain people enter our lives and certain events can happen that point us back to our eternal reward, our eternal grand slam.”

Trevor Williams, MLB pitcher, Washington Nationals

A Grand Slam for God is a highly inspiring and encouraging story that will evoke much pondering in your own life. Through honesty, engaging witness, and vulnerability, Fr. Burke reveals that God honors and authors the deepest desires of our heart. In both sorrow and triumph, all things work for good according to his will. You will love this book!”

Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT, speaker and author

“Every priest has a vocation story, a story of God’s grace and a man’s cooperation with that grace. As Bishop of Joliet, I had the privilege of ministering with Fr. Burke for four years. I got to know him well, but not until reading A Grand Slam for God did I learn the full interior history of his vocation to the priesthood. Surprised by God at every turn, Fr. Burke listened deeply to the interior movements of the Holy Spirit and joyfully accepted God’s call to the priesthood. This book will be an inspiration to young men considering a priestly vocation—but it will also be a reminder for all of us to discover anew the grace that accompanies God’s call in each of our lives. It is a reminder to give thanks for the blessings God showers down upon us.”

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop Emeritus of Seattle

“Fr. Burke is a calm listener who is there for everyone and always available. He is an old-school priest and friend, a trusted member within the clubhouse, and a pretty good ballplayer too. You will enjoy this book about his amazing life story.”

Joe Maddon, former MLB manager and coauthor of The Book of Joe

“Early on in my friendship with Fr. Burke, I had the opportunity to witness a conversation between him and Mike Martin, the winningest coach in college baseball history. They reminisced about that electrifying moment for Burke (his grand slam) and the agonizing effect for Coach Martin when his team was knocked out of the World Series. By the end of the conversation, they were both speaking joyfully about their fulfillment in their faith in Jesus Christ. I trust you will love reading this inspiring story of a man who hungered for greatness and was surprised where he found it.”

Dr. Bob Schuchts, author of Be Healed

“This book has it all: a captivating tale of a hometown boy who makes it big, but not at all in the way he expected. The true story of Fr. Burke Masters’ unexpected and amazing trajectory from high school star athlete to college baseball superstar to the Catholic priesthood is filled with natural-born talent, hard work, true grit, determination, and trust in God’s loving providence, with plenty of triumphs, surprises, and unexpected bumps in the road along the way. I loved it.”

Patrick Madrid, host of the daily Patrick Madrid Show on Relevant Radio

“I encourage anyone and everyone that likes baseball to read this incredible book written by Fr. Burke. He uses his own experiences with failure and success in the great sport of baseball to teach us about who we are and who God is. This book will give us the hope, courage, and inspiration to be all that God has created us to be. A definite must read!”

Deacon Darrell Miller, former California Angels baseball player (1979–1989)

“Fr. Burke Masters’ autobiography A Grand Slam for God is the detailed journey of his conversion from seeking his will to seeking God’s will. He beautifully tells the story of how a college baseball star gave up the tools of the game in order to labor in the Lord’s vineyard as a priest. It is truly an inspired tale for everyone, as at the heart of this story we hear one man’s account of radically falling in love with Jesus Christ. Enjoy!”

Bishop James S. Wall, Diocese of Gallup

“Few subjects are of more compelling interest than sport and religion. The narrative to which we are introduced in A Grand Slam for God involves both of them. It’s a story so fresh, so bold and disarmingly honest, it captures and holds the reader’s attention from first page to last. Not only is it a great read, it’s also an instructive pointer to what St. John Paul II referred to once, when speaking to a group of highly successful sportsmen and athletes, as ‘that final target, that “goal” which is the true and ultimate destiny of life.’”

Fr. Paul Murray, OP, author and international speaker

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