He’s a major-league pitcher — and a plumber — whose faith helps keep him focused

Detroit Tigers ace Michael Fulmer works as a plumber in the offseason and serves as a mentor for adults with developmental disabilities.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | For Religion News Service

ARLINGTON, Texas — It’s not hard to stay humble when you’re unclogging a toilet.

Or when you’re throwing gopher balls to Miracle League ballplayers swinging for the fences.

At least that’s how Detroit Tigers ace Michael Fulmer, who works part-time as a plumber in the offseason and serves as a mentor to adults with developmental disabilities, describes his approach to living out his Christian faith.

“It’s a way for me to stay levelheaded,” said the 25-year-old right-hander of his part-time gig with Cyrus Wright Plumbing in his home state of Oklahoma.

Fulmer has emerged as one of baseball’s top young pitchers, winning the American League Rookie of the Year award in 2016 and earning a spot on the AL All-Star team in 2017. He has a 3.46 ERA in 58 career starts, and his fastball regularly touches 97 mph.

If you’re not a baseball aficionado, simply consider this: Now in his third season, Fuller will earn $575,000 this year.

In a Religion News Service interview during the Tigers’ three-game series with the Texas Rangers earlier this week, Fulmer said his goal — win or lose — is “to preach the Lord’s name.”

As Fulmer stepped to the mound at Globe Life Park for his start Monday (May 7), he couldn’t help but notice a special group of fans in the right-field corner.

Wings, a Christian nonprofit, offers vocational, social and residential programs for adults with developmental disabilities. The organization, based in Edmond, Okla., chartered a bus for 43 members and parents to make the 450-mile round trip to see Fulmer — one of the ministry’s biggest supporters — pitch.

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Religion News Service is a national wire service whose media partners include The Associated Press, USA Today and the Washington Post.