By Kent Larsen
LDS Mission Helped Stanford's Pitching Ace
STANFORD, CALIFORNIA -- If you want to pitch in the big leagues, there may
not be any place better to play than Stanford University, especially this
year, as the Cardinals have jumped to the top of Baseball America's college
rankings. The school has developed a stellar baseball reputation, producing
star pitchers like Mike Mussina, Jack McDowell and Rick Helling. But the
school's latest ace, Jeremy Guthrie, has an added advantage, the maturity
that comes to many after serving an LDS mission to Spain.
While getting into Stanford is difficult, making the team is even more so.
The school's reputation both academically and in baseball allows it to pick
and choose among the best high school prospects. But the school's academic
standards only allow it to get 4 or 5 students through scholarships each year.
Guthrie is a good example. Unable to get into Stanford out of high school,
he attended BYU for a year before going on his mission to Spain. There he
learned fluent Spanish, but didn't throw a baseball for two years. Guthrie
says the mission gave him a maturity he wouldn't have otherwise, "In the
tough situations, I'm a little more mature mentally than I was before. Those
things would affect me before. I didn't really come through in a lot of
tough situations. And just the importance of the game to me, its just as
high but on a different level. There's better balance."
That better balance has yielded a phenomenal performance record from
Guthrie. The team is 5-0 when he is pitching, and Guthrie has earned a 0.94
ERA, the kind of number that makes major league scouts sit up and take notice.
Stanford Pitchers Remain Aces
San Francisco Chronicle 21Mar01 S2
By Jorge L. Ortiz: Chronicle Staff Writer