Baseball

Tim Tebow: 15 things to know about the star attraction of the Columbia Fireflies

Tim Tebow opens Fan Fest with Columbia Fireflies

Tim Tebow, Columbia Fireflies outfielder and former NFL quarterback, practices Sunday during the team's Fan Fest.
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Tim Tebow, Columbia Fireflies outfielder and former NFL quarterback, practices Sunday during the team's Fan Fest.

What to know about Columbia Fireflies baseball player Tim Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner at Florida:

1. Numbers game

Tebow will wear No. 15 for the Fireflies, the same number he wore at Florida and for most of his NFL career. Tebow wore No. 5 in high school and it was retired by Nease High in 2012. But when he got to Florida, Reche Caldwell had No. 5 so he switched to 15.

2. Last time on the diamond

This season will be Tebow’s first full year in baseball since he was a junior in high school. That season, Tebow hit .494 with four homers and 30 RBIs and his team reached the state’s final four.

3. Born outside the U.S.

Tebow was raised in Florida, but he was born in the Philippines, where his parents, Pamela and Robert, were serving as missionaries. They moved to Jacksonville when Tebow, the youngest of five children, was 3 years old.

4. Man of Faith

He has been a devout Christian since he was 6 years old, and he hasn’t been ashamed of sharing his faith throughout his playing career.

5. Charitable endeavors

He started the Tim Tebow Foundation, which has a variety of outreach initiatives. He opened Tim Tebow Cure Hospital in the Philippines. Other parts of the foundation include WI5H (in which Tebow meets kids with life-threatening illnesses), Tim’s Playrooms built in hospitals and Night to Shine, which is a nationwide prom event for people with special needs.

6. Tebow laws

There are two laws named after Tebow. A Florida law allows home-schooled students, which Tebow was, to play on the athletics teams in the district in which they live.

The NCAA developed the Tebow Rule, which banned any messages on eye paint. Tebow used to write scriptures on his eye black. He put John 3:16 on his eye black before a national title game and 94 million people googled the scripture to see what it meant.

7. Great to be a Gator

Tebow played college football at Florida, where he was a part of two national championship teams and was the first sophomore to win The Heisman Trophy. He broke 28 Florida records. He still holds the SEC mark for career TDs with 145. In 2011, the Gators honored him with a statue outside Ben Griffin Hill Stadium.

8. Roll Tide

While Tebow signed with Florida, he thought he was going to play at Alabama until his senior year when former Gator coach Urban Meyer started recruiting him. Tebow said in an interview a few years ago that he didn’t choose Florida until the final moments before he signed.

9. Success against Gamecocks

While at Florida, Tebow went 3-0 as a starting QB against South Carolina, with two of the wins coming at Williams-Brice Stadium.

10. NFL career

He was first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2010 and led a playoff victory in 2011. He also played for the Jets, Patriots and Eagles in six seasons. He became the third QB in NFL history, joining Kordell Stewart and Michael Vick, to throw for a TD of 30 or more yards and run for a TD of 40 or more yards in the same game.

11. “Tebowing”

Tebow created a phenomenon in 2011 known as Tebowing, which mimicked his pregame and touchdown celebration in which he dropped to one knee in prayer and making a fist.

12. Best seller

Tebow has written two books, Through My Eyes (2011) and Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms (2016). Through My Eyes spent 24 weeks on the New York Times best seller list and Shaken also made the list.

13. Tebow’s favorites

Tebow’s favorite actor is Will Smith and his favorite actress is Jennifer Aniston. His favorite type of music is Christian and country with Rascal Flatts being his favorite group. Tebow’s favorite movie is Braveheart.

14. Quite an impression

He homered in his at-bat on the first pitch he saw in the instructional league Sept. 28. The blast came off former Vanderbilt pitcher John Kilichowski, who is in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

15. Professional help

Tebow said he trained a lot with Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy to get ready for spring training. Both Tebow and Murphy worked out in Jacksonville in the offseason.

Fireflies Fanfest

When: Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

Where: Spirit Communications Park

Cost: Admission and parking are free

Of note: Tim Tebow and the rest of the players will be available for photos and autographs on the ballpark’s main concourse for 30 minutes after a workout. There will be a limit of one autographed item per person per player.

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