Lakeside welcomes André Thornton, former Cleveland Indians first baseman, for a special event highlighting his faith journey. He will serve as the keynote speaker for Lakeside’s 2nd Annual Prayer Breakfast at 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 3 in Wesley Lodge.
In addition to Thornton’s story, the Prayer Breakfast will also include a testimony from Abbey Allerding, the girls’ basketball coach at North Canton Hoover High School, who leads her team to championships despite having multiple sclerosis.
In his hometown of Phoenixville, Pa., Thornton was a standout athlete. A week before his 18th birthday, he was signed as an amateur free agent for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1967. During his debut year with the Cleveland Indians in 1977, he hit 28 homeruns. His career high came a year later with 33 homeruns.
His career came to an end after 1987 when his injuries kept him on the sideline. He ended as a two-time American League All-Star, finishing with 244 doubles, 253 homeruns and a batting average of .254. In 2007, he was inducted into the Cleveland Indians’ Hall of Fame, alongside Jim Bagby, Sr., Mike Garcia and Charles Nagy.
What is more remarkable than his athletic accomplishments is his ability to hold onto his faith in the midst of tragedy. In 1977, Thornton and his family were in a car accident that injured him and his son and killed his wife Gertrude and 3-year-old daughter Theresa. However painful that experience was, he didn’t let that stop him from success or from seeking a stronger faith.
In 1983, Thornton wrote Triumph Born of Tragedy, an autobiographical account of the accident and a testament to his Christian faith.
He later remarried and had two more sons. Today, he is the President/CEO of ASW Global, a supply chain management company. He is still very involved in the Cleveland community, as well. He is on the Board of the Cleveland Council of World Affairs, the Cleveland Zoological Society and the Cuyahoga Community College Fund.
In addition to sharing his faith journey at the Prayer Breakfast, Thornton and his wife will lead a special lecture at 10:30 a.m. in Orchestra Hall. Following the lecture, there will be books available for signing and a special Luncheon where he will reflect on his baseball career.