Rickey Hill knew the odds were against him ever coming close to his dream of playing professional baseball.
“I had no disk in my spine,” Hill, subject of the new film “The Hill” starring Dennis Quaid, told Faithwire. “People didn’t realize, I was born with no disk. My grandmother and my great-grandmother were in wheelchairs; I’d never seen them any different, and I was headed in the same direction.”
The outlet notes that, despite his affliction, “Hill said he never abandoned hope or trust in God’s sovereignty” and that “Hill grew up trusting God’s plan and his prognosis were at odds.”
It all began as a boy for Hill.
“One day, at eight years old, I busted those braces off,” he said. “I never put ’em back on.”
“I knew one day that I would make it, somehow, someway,” Hill said. “It didn’t matter the pain. I weathered the pain, because it was very painful, but I weathered that storm through the pain and I just had it built in. My father had it; I had it.”
In 1975, the Montreal Expos signed Hill. Over four minor league seasons, he hit .298 with 26 homers and 116 RBI and was part of the 1978 Grays Harbor Loggers team that won the Northwest League championship, according to USA Today.
“He could hit, and he had power,” Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, who played with Hill on the Class A Lethbridge Expos, said. “He was definitely one of our top prospects.’’
Hill told Faithwire that he was a different breed of athlete.
“I was probably the only baseball player ever that never said a curse word,” he said. “I would get on the buses and I’d start preaching to the guys on the bus, the guys that would listen, and singing Gospel songs, leading Gospel songs while we were on the road traveling. That carried on through my baseball career.”
“I never gave up hope and faith,” Hill added.
Even after an incident in which he became paralyzed on the field, Hill never gave up on God.
“That one I didn’t understand,” he said. “But I never gave up hope and faith and I went through major surgeries that restored my legs. … I’ve got nine screws in my spine, I have six cages, and a 14-inch rod that holds me together. And today, I’m very thankful.”
“Even this movie has brought me just closer — just closer to God,” Hill said. “Because of what I went through, it brings me closer to Jesus Christ, because I know that this story was ordained before I was even in my mother’s womb.”
— Michele Tafoya (@Michele_Tafoya) August 25, 2023
“There is no such thing as no in my book,” Hill, 67, said, according to The Athletic.
“I’m just thankful for the movie. I hope every little leaguer likes it and learns, guess what guys? Don’t stop,” he said,
“I hope (people watching this) take the fact that even though they told me my disease was going to end me, I wasn’t going to accept that. I said I’m not accepting no, and I didn’t. I said I would play (pro ball) until every tire went flat,” he said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.