Although Dale Shiffman may have never lived to see his dream of playing major league baseball come true, he actually got more than he dreamed of-too much more. He became a freelance photographer for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the same Pirates that won the team’s fifth World Series championship in 1979, and got to hang out with the team, got to catch fly balls, got to be a part of the team. Dale Shiffman also got involved with players who took drugs and even dealt drugs to players on other teams, before he was convicted of the crime. Today, however, Dale Shiffman, the former Pirates photographer is sharing his story of God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ with anyone who will listen.
Shiffman said on the 700 Club television show that not only did he deal drugs to others, he also took cocaine himself. He said the more he took, the more he wanted. He added that his whole life began to be about cocaine. He reportedly supplied drugs to players on the Pirates and several other teams.
Although Dale Shiffman, the former photographer for the Pirates admits that he occasionally thought about going to jail, he was too preoccupied with having fun to give it much thought. Dale Shiffman, the Pirates photographer who would soon be sentenced to 12 years in prison, may have not seemed like a man who would once tell people about a faith in Jesus Christ.
Shiffman’s fun with drugs was not to last long. Several baseball players pointed the finger at him, and he was indicted on 111 counts. After pleading guilty to 20, he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.
Today, Shiffman remembers the day the FBI arrested him as the “worst day” of his life, “the darkest day of my life.” He remembers wondering what would happen to his parents or others who knew him. He thought that 12 years in prison would seem like a long time.
Things would soon change for Dale Shiffman, however, because the Pittsburgh Pirates’ photographer was about to learn about God. He remembers that after a prison chaplain invited him to a service, he began convicted that he, like others around him, was a sinner and needed a Savior-Whom he believed was God’s Son, Jesus Christ, Who died on the cross for him and rose again. Shiffman’s life has never been the same. He remembers pushing other prisoners out of the way to go to the altar to ask Jesus to save him. He feels now as though a “40 pound weight” was lifted from his shoulders that night.
Since that night, Dale Shiffman, the former Pittsburgh Pirates’ photographer has not taken drugs and has shared his faith in Christ with others. He is married and has three sons. He shares his love of baseball with them and shares his faith with them and others. He only served two years of his twelve years sentence.
Today, Dale Shiffman tells anyone who will listen that Jesus can “wipe the slate clean,” even to those who think they have wasted their lives too much to have any hope. He tells them that Jesus died for everything people have done and can totally save anyone.
The major media, including HBO, major newspapers, and various online sites has covered the drug trial of 1985. One aspect of the case that has been highlighted was that Dale Shiffman, the Pirates photographer and convicted drug dealer who now shares God’s love with others, forgave Kevin Koch, the Pirates mascot who only avoided prison himself in the scandal by testifying against Shiffman.