By Chad Bonham
As Shawn Boskie neared the end of his eight-year Major League Baseball career, he periodically fielded a difficult question: “What are you going to do after you retire?”
It’s a strange thing to ask an athlete; especially when you consider that most professionals face that daunting decision in their 20s or, at best, their 30s. Nevertheless, Boskie had no idea how to respond to such inquiries.
In an effort to find a satisfactory answer, he and his wife Pamela attended a seminar called “God’s Plan For Work.” After going through various classes and doing standard personality profiles and assessment tests, he was given the opportunity to write down a personal mission statement for his future employment.
“My response talked about being involved in something that had a larger social impact, but with an eternal significance,” Boskie explains. “I felt like it was the truth, but it didn’t help me figure out what my job was going to be.”
After settling down in Scottsdale, Arizona, he started raising money for investment funds. A happenstance conversation with a member of his small group at church led him to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) where he worked for the next 10 years—first as a regional representative and eventually as head of development.
Boskie says that his work at ADF was incredibly rewarding and gave him his first glimpse of what making a larger social impact (with an eternal significance) looked like in the work force. His fundraising efforts there fueled the legal defense for constituents fighting to protect their religious freedoms.
He had no idea, however, that his time at ADF was just a taste of things to come. In 2013, he met Pure Flix Entertainment co-founder Russell Wolfe through his organization’s promotional partnership on the film God’s Not Dead. Not longer after, Wolfe was tragically diagnosed with ALS and needed to find someone to take over his fundraising efforts. He looked no further than Boskie who accepted the offer to work for Pure Flix as Vice President of Investor Relations.
“When Russell asked me to join Pure Flix, I felt like it was consistent with that mission statement that I had jotted down all those years before,” Boskie says. “Our goal is to influence the culture for Christ through media. ADF’s goal was to keep the door open for the spread of the gospel in our country through the legal channels. It energized me to take movies out into the culture. Movies have such a big influence on people’s lives when they’re done well.”
From The Bullpen To The Box Office
It’s been 20 years since Boskie last jogged to the mound and faced down Major League mashers like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr., and Barry Bonds. He ended his career with the Montreal Expos, which six years relocated to D.C., and became the Washington Nationals. Previously, Boskie had spent four seasons with the Chicago Cubs along with stops in Philadelphia, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Baltimore.
One of his greatest highlights was on September 6, 1995, when he was the starting pitcher for the Angels on the night in which Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak of 2,130. Just making it to the big leagues in itself was one of the most surreal experiences Boskie can recall.
“You don’t know what your ceiling is,” he explains. “When you’re playing in high school, it’s just a dream. Then you go to college and now you’ve moved up to the next level. You still don’t know if it’s possible. So when you get to that top level, it’s like, ‘Wow! I made it to the top level. This is amazing!’ It’s really an astounding thing.”
Living near Phoenix (where the Arizona Diamondbacks play), Boskie still follows the game and, unlike some former players, resists the temptation to make lofty comparisons to the current generation that includes All-Stars such as Jose Altuve´, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, and Mike Trout.
“I’m not one of those guys who says we were way better back in our day,” he says. “I think the players are better now. They’re stronger. They’re faster. The game has changed. I’m astounded when I watch guys compete now. And the pitching is incredible. Throwing 90 miles an hour used to be a big deal. Now it seems like everyone throws 95! Sometimes I wonder if I could compete at that level now.”
Boskie is also impressed with how many vocal Christians there are playing the game. It was during his era in the 90s when an emerging group of athletes set the tone for what we’re seeing today.
“I’m really proud of the guys that are bold with their faith,” Boskie says. “I always point out who the Christian athletes are to my kids and to my friends. I don’t expect them to be perfect, but I love that these guys aren’t hiding their faith.”
Boskie isn’t sure if his time in the Major Leagues prepared him for his current role in the movie business. The team dynamic still exists, but performance isn’t wrapped up in a single moment. Instead, Boskie is able to see his work in light of its eternal ramifications such as the firsthand account he heard from an atheist who became a Christian after watching The Case For Christ.
“I’m so grateful I got to play baseball and be a part of that, but this is much more rewarding and exciting and fun for me,” Boskie says. “The movies that we make need to hit people’s heart. They need to encourage people’s faith. This is a business with a kingdom perspective.”
(Photos: Courtesy of Shawn Boskie, Pure Flix Entertainment)