Cubs World Series MVP Ben Zobrist ’04 on Game 7 Pressures

The baseball legend returned to ONU to reflect upon God’s faithfulness in his most challenging athletic moment.
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Seth Hurd

April 22, 2024 Alumni & Friends, Athletics, Spiritual Life

Ben Zobrist speaking at podium

Ben Zobrist on Resilience, Faith and the Legendary Cubs World Series Victory

Most fans would assume that a World Series ring AND an MVP trophy would result in boundless happiness. But Olivet Nazarene University alumnus Ben Zobrist ’04 returned to Centennial Chapel to share a different story of post-World-Series life, including emotional and mental struggles he faced following the Fall Classic, including a bout of depression that tested his resilience and faith.

During his speech, Zobrist played a video showing critical moments of Game 7, emphasizing the psychological battle: “What you need to know is what was going on in our heads at this point in the game. It was crazy. We were in disbelief. How could this possibly happen?” This highlighted the tension and the dramatic turn of events influenced by a timely rain delay.

This pause in play, as Zobrist explained, allowed the Cubs to regroup mentally and emotionally. He shared how a team meeting held during the delay helped shift the team’s dynamics and restore their focus. The personal stakes were high, and Zobrist candidly expressed the fear and pressure he felt, waiting for his turn at bat, knowing it could define his career.

“I was wringing my hands in my heart… You prepare your whole life and you know this is the biggest moment of your life, potentially the biggest defining moment that you’ve ever had.”

Beyond recounting the events of the game, Zobrist emphasized the importance of humility, respect for the game and opponents, and the necessity of self-compassion—a lesson he learned over many years of professional play. He discussed the critical nature of mental health, the danger of negative self-talk, and the need for personal grace in moments of failure.

Zobrist connected his experiences to biblical teachings, drawing parallels between his life challenges and the stories of biblical figures like King David. His message highlighted the transformative power of vulnerability and the strength found in faith and community.

“King David… He kept bringing his vulnerability to God. He expressed it in poems, in songs to God. He let it out.”

The event concluded with a call to the students to recognize their own “boxes”—challenges and arenas of life where they need to continually show courage and resilience. Zobrist’s visit was not just a recounting of a famous sports victory but a profound sharing of personal vulnerability and triumph over adversity.

“What is the box that the Lord is asking you to have the courage to continue,” he asked the crowd, “even though you may have failed before, to continue to show up and have courage to step into?”

Watch the full video here.

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Seth Hurd

Seth Hurd (’06, ’08 MOL, ’12 M. Hist) is the founder of Manx Solutions. He lives in St. Louis, MO with his wife Amanda, and daughters Ava and Emery.

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