10 of the Best Books on Sports and Christianity from the Past 10 Years


How scholars, fans, and on-field stars have related faith and athletics.

Over the past decade, an increasingly diverse and inspirational range of new books combining sports and Christianity have begun to appear in print. These include works of fiction and nonfiction, aimed at scholarly and popular audiences alike. The authors and subjects include men and women, children, people of color, people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and representatives of different Christian traditions.

Here are ten of the best American books about sports and Christianity of the past ten years, listed in no particular order.

The Closer: My Story

Mariano Rivera with Wayne Coffey

Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankees’ legendary reliever, writes this memoir in the tradition of a classic Christian testimonial. Rivera takes readers from his impoverished childhood in Panama through his storied big-league career. The centerpiece of the book, though, is Rivera’s description of how his Christian faith and commitment to family kept him grounded amid the glitz and glamour of professional sports. Few memoirs offer as vivid a portrait of the challenges faced by Christian athletes in the contemporary sporting landscape.

The Mentor

Ryan M. Shelton

Oklahoma-based journalist Ryan M. Shelton has authored a pair of exciting young-adult fiction books about Christian athletes, The Mentor and The Captain. In The Mentor, Shelton tells the story of Vincent Preston, a talented high school baseball player who has recently become a Christian. Preston faces a difficult home life and is frequently the target of bullying by his teammates. The young ballplayer perseveres through his faith and the relationship he develops with a former Major League Baseball scout named “Grandpa Dean” who lives in his small town. Readers who …

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