Being a Knight is Part of Who I Am
2/12/2019By Andrew Fowler
It’s July 11 and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting right-hander Trevor Williams, a Knights of Columbus member, is in the midst of a skid.
In the beginning of his third season in Major League Baseball (MLB), Williams posted a 2.72 earned run average (ERA) and won five games. But by early July, his ERA had jumped up to 4.60 and he was 6-7 on the season for wins and losses. That Wednesday afternoon, he was scheduled to square off against the Washington Nationals.
Before he took the mound, sitting in front of his locker with a St. Benedict crucifix on it, Williams said a prayer: “Jesus I trust in you.” On his left wrist, just below where the glove ends, is a tattoo of the letters AMDG, an abbreviation for the Latin phrase Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, “For the greater glory of God.” He sees the letters before every pitch he makes.
To him, faith is the most important aspect of his life followed by his family and then baseball.
“I take my job very seriously,” Williams said. “However I know at the end of the day the sun's going to come up the next morning and you know the goal is heaven.”
Williams also feels tremendous responsibility as a Knight.
“Being a Knight is part of who I am,” said Williams. “I'm a father; I'm a son; I'm a brother; I'm a husband; I'm a pitcher; I'm a history lover; but I'm also a Knight.” And as a Knight of Columbus, he joins the ranks of Hall of Famers and MLB legends like Babe Ruth, Ed Walsh and Ron Guidry, who were also Knights.
Williams was a cradle Catholic, and, on his Twitter bio, calls himself a “Servant of Christ.” When he was confirmed in his junior year of high school, a mentor asked Williams what he found most important in life and how he was living for that. The question was pivotal.
“I started making every decision [by asking], ‘Am I helping build the Kingdom of Heaven, or am I helping destroy it with my decision making?’” said Williams.
Since then, Williams has delved deeper into his Catholicism, not just through daily prayer, but also by putting his faith into action through his initiative Project Thirty Four.
“We’re in such a need of action,” said Williams. “The best way to do that is to go out into your community and be visible and be present. And I think, as a Knight, that's the best way that you can do that and offer as much as you can as a Catholic man to your community.”
Project Thirty Four assists with purchasing medical equipment and assistive devices for patients with spinal cord injuries. Williams started the program after witnessing his roommate, teammate and close friend at Arizona State, Cory Hahn, suffer a career-ending spinal cord injury while sliding headfirst into second base. The incident caused Williams to reconsider his own life choices.
“It left me in a spot where I didn't know if I was supposed to be playing baseball anymore,” said Williams. “I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to pay it forward.”
And in that July 11 outing? Williams pitched five innings, allowing no runs and 3 strikeouts for the win, snapping his skid.
From then on, he went 8-3 and finished the season ranked 13th in the majors for ERA with one of the best second-half performances by a Pirates pitcher since they were established in 1882, the same year the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights.
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