Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Even Injured, Dodgers' Butler Still Very Much in Demand

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Even Injured, Dodgers' Butler Still Very Much in Demand

Article excerpt

At an age when most big-league ballplayers have turned into "whatever happened to . . . ?" stories, Brett Butler is a man in demand.

The Los Angeles Dodgers would like him to come off the disabled list soon and resume his spot atop their batting order. His family would like him to be home in the Atlanta area but will patiently wait out this season.

The organizers of today's Christian Family Day activities at Busch Stadium, following the Dodgers-Cardinals game, would be delighted if Butler would share some of his faith. He might do that, joining former Chicago Bears star Mike Singletary and several current baseball players in speaking to several thousand fans expected to stick around. "It's nice to be wanted," Butler said. No surprise that Butler would be wanted by his wife and children, or as a speaker to those with whom he has devotedly shared Christian beliefs for more than two decades. But for a man who once was considered too small to make his high school team, a man who has spent 17 seasons in the major leagues, a man whose 1996 season was interrupted by removal of a cancerous tumor in his tonsils and 44 days of subsequent treatment, it's not just nice to be wanted. It's nice to be alive. That he currently is on the disabled list with torn cartilage in his right shoulder is little more than an aggravation, an annoyance, when considered in the bigger picture. He had plenty of questions for God immediately upon learning he had cancer last year. His wife had plenty of questions for God when, after he had come back from the cancer treatment, his season ended because of a broken hand. But there really were no questions or anger or even maddening frustration when Butler went on the disabled list this time. It's a setback he could understand completely. "Let's face it," Butler said, "I've played the game for 36 years. There's been some wear and tear on this body. I separated my shoulder in high school, so really this is an old injury." His body is telling him it's time to call it quits. And he will. Next year. Butler came back for several reasons. Primarily, he doesn't want to watch the Dodgers win a World Series this year without him. …

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