LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Travelers are proud to announce President Russ Meeks as the recipient of the 2018 Bowie Kuhn Award recognizing his support and outstanding leadership of the Baseball Chapel Ministry awarded by Major League Baseball (MLB). This prestigious award highlights President Meeks' commitment to faith and integrity that extends far beyond the diamond. Presented at the 2018 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings Award Luncheon in Las Vegas, Nevada, this December, the Bowie Kuhn Award is bestowed to one team or individual in recognition for support of the Chapel program in professional baseball.
Established in 1973, Baseball Chapel serves "those in professional baseball who desire to deepen their Christian faith, but who are unable to attend church." The program ministers to nearly 8,000 people during the baseball season, beginning in spring training. Baseball Chapel is an international ministry recognized by Major & Minor League Baseball and is responsible for the appointment and oversight of all team chapel leaders. Its ministry is directed toward players, coaches, managers and their wives, umpires, front office and ballpark staff.
The award was presented to President Meeks by Vince Nauss, President of Baseball Chapel since 1995 and ordained minister, "Under Russ' leadership the Travs have served as an example of Christian love and kindness in the community, putting faith into action by loving your neighbor as thyself."
The Bowie Kuhn Award is named in honor of the late baseball commissioner, who helped give Baseball Chapel a foothold in its infancy. In the late 1960's and early 70's, Detroit sportswriter Watson Spoelstra had begun organizing Sunday chapel services. He approached Kuhn, asking him to allot funds to expand the project. Kuhn agreed, and Baseball Chapel quickly expanded across Major League Baseball (and just five seasons later, the Minor League). Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 (less than a year after his death), Kuhn spoke widely on his Roman Catholic beliefs during and after his tenure as baseball's top executive.
In attendance at the Award Luncheon as guests of the Travelers, Larry Corrigan, scout for the Minnesota Twins, and his wife Lorie, as well as Bobby Richardson, second baseman for the New York Yankees alongside legends Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle and MVP for the 1960 World Series, and his wife Betsy. Richardson served for 10 years as the first President of Baseball Chapel and is now a close friend of Meeks, "I'm excited to see how Baseball Chapel has grown since the early days, now it's coordinated at every level across professional baseball." Continuing, "He (Meeks) honors the Lord in the way he serves and the Lord is being honored with everything he does. He is the perfect one for this award".
Baseball Chapel's mission is to bring encouragement to people in the world of professional baseball through the Gospel so that some become discipled followers of Jesus Christ. The Chapel's vision is to see deeply committed players use their platform to influence people around the world to become followers of Jesus Christ.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.