Barry Lyons made his major league debut with the New York Mets in 1984. He spent parts of 7 seasons with the Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Anaheim Angers and Chicago White Sox. Mostly used as a backup catcher, Lyons collected 150 hits for a ,239 career average. Always a fan of backup catchers, I was happy to see Lyons finish his career with the Sox.
After retiring, Lyons faced some serious challenges. His home was destroyed by a hurrican and he battled substance addiction. Fortunately for Lyons, he has triumphed thanks to his newfound devotion to God.
Lyons is one of fifteen athletes featured in Champions, a book written by my old friends George Castle and John Schenk. I had the honor of interviewing Lyons at the book launch party for Champions.
I also had the pleasure of having dinner with Lyons and Schenk the night prior to the party. I knew about Lyons being born again and I looked forward to a great discussion with him about religion, spirituality and even a little baseball.
Lyons talked openly about his troubles and being saved by his religion. He is strong in his beliefs and he is grateful for the chance to recover in life. Whether your religious beliefs, it is impressive and inspiring to hear Lyons speak so passionately about his. It was one of the most interesting conversations I have ever had, especially with a celebrity.
Regular readers know that I co-created the Backup Catcher Hall of Fame. As much as I like Lyons, I did not put him in the BCHOF. His averages are right there, but he just did not play long enough. Despite not being a BCHOFer, Lyons is definitely a HOFer in life. What a great guy.
Champions is filled with stories from 15 athletes who have similarly inspiring stories of overcoming life's obstacles.Check SignatureStrength.org for more information on Champions and other great work that Signature Strength does.
Barry Lyons and me in Chicago, IL-February 2018.