For 16 years, Adam LaRoche was a professional baseball player. The son of a Major League pitcher, LaRoche signed with the Atlanta Braves in 2000 and made his big league debut a few short seasons later in 2004.
LaRoche was often among the most consistent left-handed power hitters in baseball for the next decade. During the latter half of his career, he had a companion on and off the field: his son, Drake.
In the spring of 2016, LaRoche reported to spring training with the Chicago White Sox, who were ready to give him $13 million for the season. But higher-ups with the team informed LaRoche that he would need to cut back the amount of time his son spent at the ballpark every day.
After a brief public debate about whether a child should be in an MLB clubhouse, LaRoche announced his retirement from baseball.
In the months since, LaRoche said he rarely thought of baseball — much less watched it. In a conversation with Rare, LaRoche said his priorities have evolved as he’s grown older. Now that he is retired, he said he doesn’t have much interest in following the game he once played every day.
“Even during my career in baseball, it was never the most important thing in my life,” LaRoche said.
His focus has shifted to his deep Christian faith and a desire to help others, which became clear during an off-season trip to Asia. On a 10-day trip organized by the nonprofit Exodus Road, LaRoche and others helped rescue children from human trafficking and sex slavery. When the skirmish with the White Sox occurred, his new perspective on the world helped cement his decision to retire.
His son begins high school this year, and his daughter will be in the eighth grade. LaRoche knows he is running out of time to raise his kids and said he hopes to leave a deep impression on them.
“The older I get, I know that my window of opportunity is closing for my opportunity to affect my kids and affect their life,” LaRoche said.
Duck Dynasty and “Dancing with the Stars” favorite Sadie Robertson launches an event tour this fall to encourage people to stay true to themselves and their values. Because of his strong faith and devotion to his family, the motivational teen chose to profile LaRoche in the 2016 Live Original tour that will have her traveling around the country with friends and family to instill positivity in her fans.
LaRoche said he tries every day to be the best father and man for his family.
“I think humility is a huge part of being a man, and it’s really the opposite of what the world and society says a man is,” LaRoche said.
He said he sees a similar humility in Sadie’s dad, Willie Robertson, and how he has raised his family.
“I’m always impressed when I find somebody who has really changed lives and not changed as a person,”LaRoche told Sadie in a recent interview with Rare. “Your whole family has. Life has changed, but you guys haven’t.”
LaRoche has known her since she was young and said he is impressed with the path she has chosen in life.
“For you to take [your career] and run in a positive direction — to use that in a positive way — that is not an easy thing to do,” he said.
Catch the tour:
- Allen, Texas: Thursday, Sept. 22
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Friday, Sept. 23
- Kansas City, Missouri: Saturday, Sept. 24
- Denver, Colorado: Sunday, Sept. 25