“The biggest influence in Christ shaping my life is the sacrifice He made for all of us,” shares Brent Suter, starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, “and the amount of gratitude that comes from my heart when I realize all the pain and suffering He went through. He lived a perfect life, yet we still nailed Him to the Cross. I live my life out of gratitude and follow His servanthood.”
Suter sees examples in the Bible where Jesus went about helping people in whatever circumstances arose. “Jesus was there for the people and there for the mission,” states Suter, “He is our Savior. Once you step back and search your heart about the sacrifice He did and what He saved us from (eternal damnation/ separation from God), living your life can be nothing but out of gratitude for that, for sure.”
Brent Suter grew up in a Christian home with his parents, Mike and Shirley, and younger brother, Troy. The family worshiped every Sunday. Brent shares, “I grew up knowing about the Lord; but in the middle school and early high school years, I began to get more into my faith by reading the Bible, praying, and getting my prayer life going. My faith started growing over time. I have fallen short along the way, but I feel I am more connected and in love with Jesus now than I ever have been. I am trying to just continue to build that relationship every day.”
Brewers team chaplain Steve Sonderman adds this perspective, “One of the greatest joys I have had the last couple of years is to watch Brent grow in his faith. He is at every chapel and Bible study and has a deep desire to follow Jesus and to become like Him. What a privilege to know Brent and walk with him through this.”
A Personal Relationship with Christ
A personal relationship with Christ is important as we grow in our faith. We develop this relationship “by getting into the Word every day, reading our devotionals, praying with my wife and others, or to have quiet time alone,” comments Suter, “We can also have conversational prayer where ever we go or whatever we are doing because He is everywhere.”
Suter shares what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ, “It really means, not only talking to God every day and praise Him through words and actions, but it is to love Him with our whole heart and having that love reflected in our lives.” He continues, “It is being that servant to others, being that person bringing a smile to someone’s face every day because we have this Good News that Jesus saved us from our sins. We need to live our lives accordingly in gratitude and thanks. It is to bring Light and Joy to people who might not necessarily have it for whatever reason.”
Brewers bullpen catcher, Marcus Hanel, describes Suter this way, “Brent has an unbelievable joy. Wherever he goes, he is always smiling, always an encouraging person. We are so fortunate to be around him because he has a contagious personality that attracts and brings out your best.”
Brent spent most of his life living in Cincinnati where he attended the all-male Archbishop Moeller High School. He was a four-year letter winner in both baseball and basketball, all-league and all-city in baseball. He was a part of conference championships in basketball including the 2007 state champions. The four-year record was an 85-5 record. He was a part of three conference titles in baseball, with the team reaching the semi-finals in his senior year. His success is not surprising when you know his father won a football national championship at Moeller in 1979 and was also a member of Penn State University’s 1982 national championship team. His mother won a state swimming championship in high school and went on to win four varsity letters in swimming at Penn State.
At the close of Brent’s high school academic career, he was a National Merit Commended Student, class salutatorian, academic All-Ohio, and National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. With those credentials, he was accepted to Harvard University.
Athletes in Action at Harvard University
At Harvard University, Brent had a successful career in baseball. He had great summer league seasons in 2011 at Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League and in 2012 at the Cape Cod Baseball League. At Harvard, he was named All-Ivy League. Having an impressive record and success, Suter was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012 in the 31st round of the First-Year Player Draft. He debuted on the mound for the Brewers on August 19, 2016.
Suter graduated from Harvard in 2012 with a degree in environmental science and public policy. He has a great concern in what’s happening environmentally in our country. He also finds faith and science can live in harmony with each other. He finds science has helped strengthen his faith in God and his relationship with Christ. Brent was involved with Athletes in Action at Harvard where “we had a really good program. We did Bible studies and did trips to share our faith with others.”
Moving to Cincinnati was a wonderful change for Brent where he met his wife. He confesses, “I actually met my wife, Erin, in second grade in elementary school when we first moved to Cincinnati. We never hung out outside of school, but we were always friendly with each other. We never dated in high school. However, early in our college years 10 to 12 years after we first met, we reconnected at some Christmas parties over the long break. We hit it off right away, and we were in the right spot for both of us to begin a new relationship.” He goes on to explain, “We texted the first month or so when we both went back to school. During the next break back in Cincinnati, we made it official. Since Erin attended college at Miami of Ohio and I was at Harvard, we had a long-distance relationship the rest of our college days and early into my pro career. Erin has been a 5th grade math teacher since graduation.”
Erin and Brent were married December 19, 2015, and they now make their off-season home in Cincinnati in the Mount Lookout neighborhood overlooking the Ohio River Valley. They attend Christ the King Catholic Church, and often go to Erin’s parents’ church and other churches in the area. “Wherever we attend, we just want to go worship and praise the Lord.” Brent and Erin have the exciting news they are expecting their first child in October (2018).
Energy and Joy
Teammate Chase Anderson shares, “When I think of Brent, I think of energy and joy. He has a smile and energy each day that is truly genuine and sincere. He loves to be around the guys and being a light for Christ. He’s very positive and has great vibes in the clubhouse. Brent truly loves his fellow man and is always picking guys up when they are down. I enjoy being around him and the joy he shows for the opportunities Christ has given him in his life to be an example for Him.”
John 3:16 is “one of my ‘big go to’ verses” when it comes to a favorite verse for Brent. (John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”) Brent also has a liking for the book of First Corinthians. He explains, “I love First Corinthians where it talks about love is patient, love is kind, and more. Love is what we are called to do as Christians. Paul goes into detail about what that really looks like. You can’t get much better than that, ‘love one another.’”
Oscar Winning Performance
Recently, Brent, with teammates Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader, took on a comedy act for a promotion the Brewers were having for a giveaway of the miniature replica of the bullpen car. It was a take on a scene from the movie ‘Dumb and Dumber’ with Brent taking on Jim Carrey’s role. “I did this with Jeremy and Josh, and we had a blast. Even Jim Carrey sent out a positive tweet. I do not have any aspirations to go into acting, but I love doing that stuff. So yes, if I ever get a chance to act or do something like that, I would love to do it.”
“One of the biggest struggles for me, besides the worldly temptations everyone faces, is knowing where and when to share the Gospel and knowing how to present it in the right way,” shares Brent. “I want to share my faith and how much I love Jesus, but I don’t want to force it on people. I am working more at picking those moments and listening to the Holy Spirit (talking to me) to find the right timing to share.”
Brent continues, “I try to bring up Jesus to have discussions in the clubhouse. I try to feel when the Holy Spirit will lead us into good conversations. We have some really, cool moments and mileage in the big-league clubhouse when Jesus is brought up. The room just explodes with some cool energy. I also try to be courteous to people wherever I might be, and I try to show little acts of kindness every day to my wife, family, teammates, and strangers. ‘You know we are Christians by our Love,’ is true. People can see what we believe by showing love towards others and by what we say and do.”
By Bruce A. Darnall, Lake Mills, Wisconsin
Photos by Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Brewers