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Baseball Star Pierre Receives First-Ever 'Champions of Faith' Award

Dodgers Center Fielder Plays Major Role in Film on Intersection of Faith and Sports

Picture: Chicago-based radio personality John Morales presents Dodgers Center Fielder Juan Pierre with first-ever Champions of Faith award.

Contact: Lisa Wheeler, 678-990-9032, 404-519-1987 cell, lwheeler@maximusmg.com; Ashley Walker, 678-990-9032, 404-791-9725 cell, awalker@maximusmg.com; both with The Maximus Group 

CHICAGO, Ill., Feb. 23 /Christian Newswire/ -- Juan Pierre, All-Star center fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was the recipient of the first-ever “Champions of Faith” Award during an awards reception and benefit event last week in Chicago. Hosted by Chicago Bears co-owner Patrick McCaskey, the award was presented to Pierre before distinguished guests, including the Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Francis George and Bears owner Virginia McCaskey. The Champions of Faith event served to kick-off the spring release of the groundbreaking film of the same name.

Pierre was chosen to receive the “Champions of Faith” Award because of his outstanding example of virtue both on and off the field. A lifelong Catholic, the 29-year-old Pierre was raised by a father and mother fortified by their Christian faith. While playing for the Florida Marlins earlier in his career, he attended Mass regularly with his manager, Jack McKeon, who is also featured in the “Champions of Faith” film. Before every at-bat, Pierre says a short prayer and makes the sign of the cross.

“When I go up to the plate I just thank God for giving me a chance to have this at-bat, to go out here and play whether it’s good or bad. I might strike out at-bat or whatever, but I like giving Him the praise and glory beforehand ‘cause He’s there when you strike out as well as when you hit a home run,” Pierre explains.

On the field, Pierre has become one of the premier leadoff hitters in Major League Baseball. While playing for the Chicago Cubs last season, he led the National League with 204 hits and 609 at-bats while finishing second with 58 stolen bases. Defensively, he did not commit an error in 384 chances and despite being only 6-feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, Pierre is one of the most durable players in the game, having played in all 162 regular season games over the past four years.

A lifetime .303 hitter, Pierre led the National League in stolen bases in both 2001 and 2003. While with the Marlins in 2003, he was a key member of McKeon’s World Series championship club.

Pierre is also featured in the Champions of Faith film, which is being produced with the cooperation of Major League Baseball Productions and will feature the music of legendary recording artist Bob Dylan,. Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition explores the intersection of sports and faith by profiling some of the most accomplished and devout figures in the game, both on and off the field. Other baseball stars featured include Mike Piazza of the Oakland A’s, Mike Sweeney of the Kansas City Royals, Jeff Suppan and David Eckstein of the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, and many more.

Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition is scheduled for release in April 2007, in conjunction with the start of the 2007 Major League Baseball season.

Interviews with “Champions of Faith” producer/director Tom Allen or producer/writer John Morales can be arranged through Lisa Wheeler or Ashley Walker of The Maximus Group by calling (678) 990-9032. To arrange an interview with Juan Pierre, please contact Mary Logue in the Dodgers Press Office at 323-224-1346. Please visit the official “Champions of Faith” website at www.ChampionsofFaith.com to find out about the roughly two dozen current and former major league players, coaches and managers featured in the film, along with more information.