Later, baseball teams — particularly in the minor leagues — implemented “all-faith days” where anyone presenting a church bulletin got a discounted ticket, the scholar said.
Faith nights incorporating Christian music and player testimonials originated in 1991, when a St. Louis Cardinals fan named Judy Boen organized the first Christian Family Day at the old Busch Stadium.
Although a foundation begun by Boen, now 81, no longer sponsors the event, it has continued for three decades.
“It was my mom’s idea,” said Christe Boen Mirikitani, Judy’s 50-year-old daughter. “She loves Jesus with all her heart, and she loves Cardinals baseball — that’s a close second. I had been babysitting for a bunch of different baseball players, and my mom knew that a lot of them had a faith in Christ.”
But persuading players to share their faith publicly was a challenge in the beginning.
“That was a big step for some of those guys,” Mirikitani recalled. “But then it kind of paved the way for the rest of the players in the years to come. People felt comfortable in doing that.”
Albert Pujols, an 11-time All-Star who retired in 2022, is a Boen family friend. Pujols paid special tribute to Judy at last year’s Cardinals faith day.
“I just want to thank you for being here today,” he told her as the crowd cheered.