Returned Missionary Plays in World Series

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 7 November 2014

Returned missionary and World Series pitcher Jeremy Guthrie autographs a baseball for a young fan prior to a November 1 devotional near Kansas City.  Photo by Valerie Anderson.

Article Highlights

  • Guthrie pitched at BYU before serving a mission in Spain.
  • The first-round pick pitched a winning game in game 3 of the World Series.
  • He was the starting pitcher for the final game, though the Royals lost to the Giants.

“When I took my call to be a missionary for two years, I left my glove behind, I left the ball behind.” —Jeremy Guthrie, returned missionary and pitcher for the Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY

Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie faced the expected questions leading up to his game 3 start in the World Series. There were, undoubtedly, queries about pitching strategies, batting lineups, and managing the pressure of performing on baseball’s biggest stage.

But the 35-year-old veteran righty also answered questions about Mormon missions—a rarity in most baseball press conferences.

More than a decade before Brother Guthrie took to the mound on October 24 to face (and defeat) the San Francisco Giants, he answered a call to serve a two-year mission to Spain. He is believed to be the first returned missionary to start and win a World Series contest.

In game 3, the Eagle Scout pitched five scoreless innings and took a 3-0 lead into the sixth inning. He was relieved that same inning and would be awarded the win.

Brother Guthrie was also the starting pitcher in the seventh and final game. He performed well, but the Giants would go on to win the game and the World Series.

Latter-day Saints living in the Platte City Missouri Stake were enjoying every minute of the Royals’ unexpected run through the Fall Classic. For one, the Kansas City club was making its first World Series appearance in almost 30 years. And second, the Royals’ pitcher wearing #11 is one of their own.

Stake President Ted Thomas said Brother Guthrie and his family are beloved members of his stake.

“We had Jeremy speak at a fireside for youth last year that we extended to all of the adults,” he said. “The fireside had a strong missionary element.”

Most American-born major league ball players graduate from high school, perhaps play a few years of college ball, and then work their way up through the minor leagues before reaching “The Show”—baseball’s major leagues.

Brother Guthrie followed a less traditional route. The Oregon native pitched his freshman year of college at Brigham Young University before leaving on his mission. His dreams of baseball glory did not travel with him to Spain.

“When I took my call to be a missionary for two years, I left my glove behind, I left the ball behind,” he told the Kansas City Star prior to his World Series start.

The lessons he learned on that mission, he added, “are the foundation for everything that happens to me in my life.”

Following his mission, he transferred from BYU to Stanford and, in 2003, was the first-round draft pick by the Cleveland Indians. Besides Cleveland and Kansas City, his major league career has included stops in Baltimore and Denver. He has a career major league record of 83 wins and 100 losses.

Brother Guthrie and his wife, Jenny, are the parents of three children. Kansas City-area members are anxious to once again hear from Brother Guthrie. As of press time, he was scheduled to participate in a multistake devotional on November 1.