Thank you for stopping by my blog! My name is Shane Hale and I am a work in progress. I am “The 1Six Project”.
This is not just a bio “about the author” but also a look into my personal story and the events in my life that have taken me from a professional baseball player to a writer and led to the creation of this blog. It has been an interesting story and it continues to unfold as I seek God’s plan for my life, which I encourage others to do as well.
I was born in 1968 in Hattiesburg, MS while my parents were attending the University of Southern Mississippi. I grew up just down the road in the small town of Lucedale, Ms. You’ve probably never heard of it. It’s a map dot town just across the state line from Mobile, Alabama where I reside today.
As a child in rural America in the 70s and early 80s, my life revolved around family, church, and sports. For me it was baseball. It was my “thing”. I was a left-handed pitcher and baseball was my life. All I ever wanted to be growing up was a professional baseball player. I mean literally, that was it and I can’t ever remember a day, except for one brief afternoon in August of 1986, that I doubted it would happen. In my mind it was done.
My lofty aspirations were often met with a chuckle or outright laughter when I enthusiastically shared them with people in my home town. Although it has changed in the 30+ years since I was there, George County was not known for producing the baseball talent that it does today. Nobody left George County on a baseball scholarship back then and pro ball was down right unimaginable. To add to that scenario, as a senior in high school I still only weighed about a buck forty soaking wet and threw maybe 76 mph. Thus the laughter.
Even though I wasn’t dripping with physical talent as a youngster thanks to being a lefty and developing a nasty knuckle ball, I struck a LOT of people out. You can laugh at the vintage late 70’s shorts, it’s ok. Our jeans in the winter became shorts in the summer.
Along with everyone else in “The County” I attended George County High School and graduated in 1986. Thanks to dedicated parents, hard work and a major break (favor?) I enrolled at the University of South Alabama that fall on a baseball scholarship. The first person to do so from my home town in a generation.
God weaves life events together to make fascinating stories for His glory. Thing is we often cannot see His hand at work until years down the road. Sometimes decades.
For the record, USA was the only team that offered me any opportunity to play beyond high school. No other team ever contacted me, not once. Not……even…..once!
Head coach Steve Kittrell’s gamble on a skinny kid nobody wanted or had ever heard of worked out well for both of us. I was a very late bloomer, gained over 35 pounds while at USA and developed one of the best fastballs in college baseball. To put it bluntly, brother I threw LIGHTNING!
Four years after enrolling at USA I was drafted in the 7th round by the Baltimore Orioles. Nobody was laughing at me now.
I spent a total of 7 seasons in the Baltimore Orioles Organization and about half of those 7 years were spent on the disabled list battling elbow issues and other ailments that resulted in 2 elbow operations and a foot surgery. I simply could not stay healthy and I never advanced beyond The Double AA level. So, don’t go looking for me on the Orioles big league roster!
After the 1996 season ended I retired. It was a very hard decision for me but it was just time to move on. I was tired of being hurt, broke, and away from home.
For the record, even though I am pushing 50 years old, if I could “be anything” today I would STILL be a (healthy) professional baseball player.
I have only known two real passions in my life. Baseball was the first. The next, writing, didn’t arrive until I was 46 years old. I never saw that one coming.
After leaving baseball in 1996 I spent the next 9 years as a corporate sales executive for Accelerated Technology and Mentor Graphics before beginning a real estate career in 2005. I still work as a Realtor today, specializing in residential sales. I write as a hobby and as a way to share what God is doing in my life.
Long story short, in the summer of 2014 …………God told me to write. I had no idea I could write prior to then. Never crossed my mind. God knew though, He gave me the gift. Thing is, He had to break me down to show it to me.
The response to that directive “to write”, I remember clearly, “Write about WHAT”?! Craziest thing I had ever heard at the time. I didn’t act on it for several months but the calling, that gentle nudge, would not go away. I didn’t recognize God’s voice then like I do now.
God doesn’t yell at us. He just gently persists. It is our option to answer, or not.
Eventually, I began writing. Mostly sharing what God was doing in my life and revealing to me as I sought Him and that plan I mentioned. To my amazement, people responded! Crazy how things work when you do what God directs you to do.
Turns out God used my writing to speak to me. Although the inspiration for stories comes to my ADD mind from literally everwhere the actual writing part, the formulating of a story, requires me to sit, read, research, study and listen. Through this God began to show me that plan I had been asking Him to reveal. Occasionally, I hear from others that He speaks to them through my writing as well. Very cool. Very humbling and I take no credit for any of it.
Jeremiah 29:11 states that God has a plan for our lives. I call that the “get something’ verse. Most people can recite that one and, like me, might even have a picture frame with the scripture written on it.
You have to keep reading though, past Jeremiah 29 : 11 to Jeremiah 29:12-14. These are what I call the “do your part” verses. They state that He will reveal that plan to us when we seek Him with all our heart. The “all our heart” part is very important. Problem is I had always stopped reading at verse 11 and never got to verses 12-14.
I started doing my part. I started seeking God. Amazing things started to happen.
I began to see stories everywhere and in everything. Words and phrases would leap off the page at me like they were on fire. Stories would just materialize in my mind from daily events. I wrote them down so I wouldn’t forget. They began to pile up. This was a completely new experience for me.
God was working in my life. Then again why wouldnlt He be working in my life? He told me to write.
So, how did this all happen? What led me to that place? Glad you asked……
By 2014, I had basically come to the end of myself. Wonderful wife, healthy kids, no lifestyle issues, an endless list to be thankful for but the tank was empty. Seems everything I had wanted to do personally, to become or to have in this life was slowly letting me down or beign taken away from me. It all seemed pointless. There was no fire inside.
A man without a fire has no destination.
By the time I reached this point in my life I had figured out that “fixing Shane” was beyond me or any “thing” this world had to offer. As a result I had just drifted through life for years after baseball and prior to this point. The difference now was that I was doing some very serious seeking to get my life back on a meaningful track. Just like Jeremiah 29: 12-14 said to do, I began “doing my part”.
I dubbed this personal quest for a renewed purpose “The 1Six Project”. 16 was my number throughout my baseball career and “One Six” was a baseball handle of mine during that chapter of my life. Looking at where I was vs where I wanted to be in life was going to require more than a single event or fix. It was going to be a project. Thus……. “The 1Six Project”.
The #16 was not just my number it has a history in my family, a legacy. My oldest son wears it today but my dad wore it first as a college football player for The University of Southern Mississippi, The Golden Eagles, in the late 60’s. Almost 50 years later I still have his #16 jersey.
To me it was not just a number. The #16 meant something to me. My baseball career meant something to me. It was part of God’s grand plan.
I had no idea but my past baseball career and my attachment to the #16 helped set the table for me to find my way back. After spiritually drifting for years, at the end of myself and with basically no other options, I finally asked God to help me.
God showed up. Met me right where I was, and over the course of 2016, among many other things, He revealed these four verses to me:
- Philippians 1:6 – He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion…..
- Philemon 1:6 – Be active in sharing your faith…….
- Romans 1:6 – You are among those who have been called to belong to Christ….
- James 1:6 – When you ask, believe, and do not doubt……
Remember my comment above about God weaving together life events for His purposes? How sometimes it is decades in the making? Well, there ya go.
In 2016, up to my chin in the rising water of life God sent me a boat. I got in. I haven’t gotten out. After 20 years of drifting through life God gave me the passion / purpose in life I was both missing and longing to have again. What is it? Living for Christ and not the things of this world, which as I mentioned will ultimately let you down. Today I paddle around encouraging others to get in that boat too.
What made the difference? A personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ and the presence of The Holy Spirit in my life.
I knew who God was my whole life but I never actually “knew Him”. personally. At 46 I began to actively seek God and His plan. I developed a personal relationship with Him in the process. God took it to a whole other level and baptized me with His Holy Spirit, which was a complete game changer!
In the spring of 2017 I was baptized (for the 2nd time) as a public profession of God’s saving and life transforming grace. I wanted everyone to know who and what was responsible for the new passion and purpose I had in life, which is being used by God to fulfill His purposes, not mine.
My quest for a meaningful purpose in life led me to take my place in His great story and stop trying too write my own personal stand alone story.
Today I call Mobile, Alabama home. Over the years I was fortunate to have traveled to literally every corner of America and most points in between, including Alaska, playing baseball. So, I have been enough places to know that I am in a good spot! Except for the heat and humidity in the summer Mobile is a great place to live.
Back in 2001 I married a girl name Michelle. Sixteen years later, Dr. Hale is still “my girlfriend” and hands down the best friend I have ever had. She is a tireless mother and a beautiful person inside and out.
We stay completely over booked and exhausted raising the three boys God blessed us with. There is rarely a dull moment.
Sometimes people still tell me, it’s too bad you didn’t make the big leagues, it’s too bad things didn’t work out for you. I disagree. That would have been a tragedy. God gave me just enough odds defying success that it would mean something to me. Baseball set the table for later in my life.
Today, I am a “redeemed & re-purposed professional baseball player”, a son of The King and heir to His kingdom. I write about different things but mostly I write about what God is doing in my life, then I share those things on this blog.
My hope is that what speaks to me will also speak to, encourage, and inspire, someone else to seek God’s plan for their life OR that it will strengthen the faith of someone that is already in the process of seeking or living their plan too.
God told me to write. So, I write. I also continue to seek Him as He instructed me in Jeremiah 29:12-14. As I do, He continues to reveal that plan He promised me in Jeremiah 29: 11.
Subscribe to my blog, The1SixProject, and you can read all about it as it continues to unfold.
Regardless of your profession. Identify your God given gifts. Then put them to work for others, through Christ. (1 Peter 4:10)
Get in the boat. Do your part.
Shane / #16
Nose to Toes Pop. I’m not done yet………