I’ve always been a snoop. I’m not proud. I suppose it’s just one more aspect of my sin-nature in which I was (am) proficient. When I was a kid for example, I’d stay home sick from (of) school and go through the house top to bottom just looking for interesting stuff to get into. I cannot begin to tell you of all the discoveries I made – some wonderful and some dreadful.
Anyway, one of the more fascinating times involved finding my dad’s scrapbook from when he was in high school. The very first entry was a May 12, 1940 Asbury Park Press Newspaper clipping recounting his baseball team’s state conference loss – their third straight. However, in that same game my dad hit a home run. The account read:
Russ Wells led off the fourth inning and tied the score for Asbury Park by parking one of Horvath’s fastballs in Deal Lake. It was a tremendous drive that carried into deep left center field and even if it hadn’t gone into the lake would have been a round tripper.
The lake must have been pretty far away because on the next page there was a May 9, 1940 account of another game where my dad hit an inside the park home run that didn’t reach the lake, but was so far out in left field he practically walked around all four bases.
Here’s an aerial shot of the Asbury Park High School as it looks today. By my rough estimate the map scale puts dead left field at about 400 feet.
Years went by and I had essentially forgotten the story, when in a bar (I think) I heard a tale of when Babe Ruth had come to Asbury Park High School for some kind of exhibition baseball game and he hit a home run into Deal Lake on the same field my dad did. The person telling the story summed up with,
Nobody had ever hit a baseball into Deal Lake before and nobody has ever done it since.
Of course I chimed in with my fuzzy account of the 1940 newspaper clipping I had allegedly seen as a lad, but nobody believed that my dad had achieved such an inconceivable feat. I actually began to wonder myself.
Yesterday, while going through some of my dad’s things, I stumbled upon the old scrapbook and wouldn’t you know it, there were the articles, just as I remembered. Now all I needed to do was to verify the legendary saloon narrative I had heard years before. Searching the internet I soon found a couple of resources that helped solve the mystery.
According to two books: ‘The Big Bam: the life and times of Babe Ruth,’ by Leigh Montville and ‘Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig,’ by Jonathan Eig, the year was 1927 and Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were playing exhibition baseball games across the country. On this particular day in Asbury Park, they were playing the Royal Giants, a Negro League team. The game was bizarre in that spectators were continually streaming onto the field to acquire autographs from Ruth and Gehrig and to steal the baseballs as they were batted into play. Three dozen baseballs were brought to the game by the promoter and the game was called in the sixth inning when Lou Gehrig (not Babe Ruth) blasted the 36th (and last) ball into Deal Lake for a home run.
After a prolonged search, I could find no reference to this being the only home run to ever land in Deal Lake. At the end of my research, the only two facts I could confirm is that my dad, Russell Van Kirk Wells Jr. and Lou Gehrig both hit home runs into Deal Lake from the same baseball field at the Asbury Park High School, thirteen years apart.
Imagine for a moment if someone had come along, before the birth of these two great men and predicted the time and location of those events. The likelihood of that having happened would be like one in a gazillion, right? Oh well, even without a prediction or the verification of all the details, it’s still a nice fact-based memory to cling to. It just makes me grateful that God took the time and effort to authenticate all His facts, through fulfilled prophesies and documentation, so there would be absolutely no doubt as to who Jesus is, what He had accomplished, and what He continues to do.
Amazingly, the Bible records over three hundred and sixty prophecies that pertain directly to Jesus Christ and so far Jesus has fulfilled over three hundred of them. In ‘The Case for Christ,’ the author Lee Strobel, (quoting mathematician Peter W. Stoner), reports that the odds of fulfilling just eight of the three hundred would be astronomical; the equivalent being one chance in one hundred, million, billion (that’s a one with seventeen zeroes after it). The odds for fulfilling forty-eight prophecies jump to a whopping 1 in 10 to the 157th power.
To help visualize the probability of one person fulfilling eight prophesies, Professor Stoner imagined secreting a marked coin in a pile of silver dollars two feet deep and covering the entire state of Texas. The odds would be likened to selecting the marked silver dollar on the very first try.
If we want an illustration for the odds of one person fulfilling forty-eight prophecies, Professor Stoner maintains that the silver dollar is now too large to make such a comparison; we would need to use electrons. Envision five hundred solid balls of electrons extending in all directions from the earth to the distance of 6 billion light years. Now put a check on one single electron and find it on the first attempt.
When we contend with these prophetic odds, appreciating that no fulfilled Bible prophesy has ever been successfully disaffirmed, we can logically accept the details as facts. The reality is that Christ fulfilled the predictions of His own birth, the place of His nativity, the time and manner of His death, the reactions of the people, the piercing of His side, His burial, His Resurrection, plus three hundred more. No proof has ever been proffered to dispute any of these claims. In fact, and according to all probability research, it would be impossible for anyone but God to accomplish this extraordinary accomplishment.
Did my dad do what no other man, other than Lou Gehrig, had ever done? I’m thinking probably not – the facts just don’t substantiate that claim. But on the other hand, did Jesus fulfill the three hundred plus things that were prophesied about Him?
Without a doubt He did.
Will He fulfill them all?
Without a doubt He will.
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