Josh Hamilton, professional baseball player, is described as both famous and infamous throughout the world of Major League Sports. During his career, Hamilton found himself struggling with substance abuse, and he ultimately credits God for saving his career and his life. “It’s a God Thing,” he says.

A lauded rising star, a fallen angel banned from baseball and then a come-back king breaking records and being bestowed with accolades and awards, Josh Hamilton’s baseball journey has not been an easy one.

In his autobiography Beyond Belief Hamilton says, “Drugs had destroyed my body and my mind and my spirit. I could no longer experience happiness or surprise. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt spontaneous joy. Why was I even alive?”

The Rise and Fall of Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 MLB Draft and was unanimously hailed as a ‘once in a generation player’. He began his career in the Minor League playing for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Hamilton’s parents, Tony and Linda Hamilton, traveled with their son for two Minor League seasons. All signs pointed to an extremely successful career, in which Hamilton continued to prove to critics and fans alike that he was the real deal.

However, in the spring of 2001, a car accident injured both he and his parents. While not life, nor career threatening, the accident was severe enough that it forced Hamilton and his parents to return home and recover. Still only 20 years old at the time, Josh found himself separated from the team and sport he loved, with plenty of money and free time. He succumbed to the allure of strip clubs, tattoo parlors, alcohol and hard drugs.

Hamilton said, “In 1999, baseball and my parents were the only two things I had. When I was separated from them…I started looking for things to fill that hole.” Josh spiraled into the dark realm of addiction.  He was suspended six times and then was banned from baseball in 2003, 2004 & 2005.

“God’s got a plan, find the Lord Jesus Christ.”

– Josh Hamilton

“God’s got a plan, find the Lord Jesus Christ.”

– Josh Hamilton

“God’s got a plan, find the Lord Jesus Christ.”

– Josh Hamilton


Finding Recovery through Faith

Hamilton struggled. He was in rehabilitation centers eight times. “There were a lot of bottoms – they just keep going deeper and deeper,” Hamilton recalled of his struggle. “It’s a cycle. You think, ‘OK, you’ve reached bottom,’ but actually, you haven’t. You can always go lower, to the point of death.”

During those dark days, he went through cycles of heavy drug use, attempts at sobriety and relapse. He also married, was separated and had his first child during this period. “I thought God would use the birth of our daughter to snap him out of his addition,” wife Katie has said.  “When it didn’t, I was at a loss. I had a lot of anger, bitterness and resentment toward Josh.”

With his career, marriage and even his life in jeopardy, Josh arrived on his Grandmother’s doorstep, broken, homeless and a skeleton of his former self. While his Grandmother, Mary Holt, took Hamilton into her care, she ultimately challenged him to surrender his life to God. Ashamed and desperate, Josh took up that challenge and began reading the Bible. And he continued reading. Josh says, “God’s got a plan, find the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Josh Hamilton’s Future as a Faith-Based & Christian Speaker

Josh credits his faith and the Lord Jesus Christ for his eventual recovery. There have been bumps along the road, relapses, but his continued faith and belief got him clean and reinstated into MLB. As Josh Hamilton’s career as a professional baseball player winds down, the next chapter of his life looks to be one focused around the realm of recovery, mental health, and most importantly, his newfound faith and relationship with Jesus.

Part of Hamilton’s recovery system involves engaging and professing his Christian faith to large and small groups. If you would like to hear from Josh Hamilton in person, contact PB Speakers today and get information on booking him for your group.

Josh Hamilton’s Speaker Profile: