FAST FACTS: Who is Tim Tebow?
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine baseball has been busy reinforcing its arsenal as the country managed to secure the services of Class AAA Minor League Baseball player Tim Tebow for its World Baseball Classic qualifiers campaign.
Tebow – the former NFL quarterback now pursuing his Major League Baseball dream – hopes to continue to make waves in his second sport.
Find out how this 32-year-old outfielder landed a spot in the Philippine roster for the World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament. (READ: Tim Tebow excited to join Philippines in World Baseball Classic)
1. WBC rules allow him to represent the Philippines
The World Baseball Classic eligibility rules are more lenient than that of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) as an athlete can represent his birth nation without holding the country's passport.
Tebow was born at the Makati Medical Center on August 14, 1987 as his American parents – Pamela Elaine and Robert Ramsey Tebow II – were then in the Philippines serving as Baptist missionaries.
The Tebows moved back to Jacksonville, Florida when Tim was 3 years old and the athlete-in-the-making was homeschooled in order for his parents to instill Christian values.
Despite settling in the US and pursuing an American football career, the Tebows never severed their ties in the Philippines as Tim continued his parents' evangelical work in the country, even spending 3 summers working in his father's orphanage before enrolling at the University of Florida.
2. He only kicked off his professional baseball career in 2016
Before 2016, Tebow last picked up a bat in a game in 2005 when he was in high school.
After announcing his NFL retirement in 2015, Tebow expressed interest in pursuing a professional baseball career which led him to hold a tryout in front of 40 Major League Baseball (MLB) scouts.
Tebow eventually signed with the New York Mets and has been with the team ever since he kicked off his baseball career in the instructional league.
The athletic outfielder slowly climbed up the Mets' Minor League teams until he reached the Triple A team in 2019 – a step closer to his MLB dream.
According to Philippine Amateur Baseball Association secretary-general Pepe Muñoz, Tebow is currently in the Mets' spring training, hoping to improve and be good enough for the MLB team before the 2020 season kicks off.
3. He used to be an NFL quarterback
Tebow was an NCAA star with the University of Florida and he eventually won the 2007 Heisman Trophy, an award given to the most outstanding college football player of the year.
The quarterback was a key player in the Florida Gators' Southern Conference (SEC) championship runs in 2006 and 2008. In those same years, the Gators clinched titles in the BCS National Championship Game.
In his last two seasons, Tebow nabbed the SEC Player of the Year plum before he entered the 2010 NFL Draft.
His NFL career, though, was shortlived as his success in the NCAA failed to translate to the high-level competition of the professional league.
Starting his career with the Denver Broncos after being drafted 25th overall in the first round, Tebow already played sparingly as a quarterback.
As his potential was sometimes questioned because of his passing, Tebow moved to the New York Jets in 2012, the New England Patriots in 2013, before ending his football career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015.
4. He is Christian
Coming from a devout Christian family, Tebow also proved to be an evangelical athlete since his college days.
Tebow even temporarily inked bible verses on his undereye, prompting the NCAA to ban eye prints in 2010 in what was dubbed as the "Tebow rule."
The media also coined the term "Tebowing," which refers to the athlete's act of kneeling in prayer on one knee with the arm resting on the bent knee, while bowing the head down.
Tebow continues to be active in missions and preaches in prisons, schools and youth groups both in the US and the Philippines.
In the Philippines, the Tebow Foundation, together with CURE International, built a children's hospital in Davao, which specializes in orthopedic surgeries and aims to provide physical and spiritual healing of Filipino kids.
5. He is married to Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters
The two started dating in 2018 after they met in the Tebow Foundation's Night to Shine event in South Africa, which is a prom night for children with special needs.
Tebow invited Nel-Peters, 24, as she had a sister named Franje with cerebellar agenesis. Franje later died on May 4, 2019.
The couple remains active in various advocacies, including helping children with special needs and promoting the End It Movement, which seeks to spread awareness and stop human trafficking. – Rappler.com