The LDS Church called 111 new mission presidents, as announced on Thursday, and among them is the second former Major League Baseball player to serve in that calling.
Jeremy Guthrie, who pitched for five different teams and won a World Series title with the Kansas City Royals, will, err, “take the mound” for the Texas Houston South Mission on July 1. At age 39 at the time he assumes his position, he’ll certainly be among the younger of mission presidents.
So if any baseball fans happen to read the phrase “Jeremy Guthrie to Houston,” no, the reigning world champion Astros aren’t adding a veteran righty to the bullpen. But you may see some missionaries belting out the National Anthem at Minute Maid Park over the next few seasons.
Guthrie, who retired from the majors last year after spending part of last season with the Washington Nationals (pause for a second and imagine Nationals outfielder and Mormon Bryce Harper as a mission president, OK good), served a full-time mission in Spain, and pitched collegiately for BYU and Stanford University.
The first former MLB star to go from the baseball field to the mission field? Dale Murphy. The Atlanta Braves legend was president of the Massachusetts Boston Mission, where he no doubt earned the respect of Red Sox fans regardless of faith.
Murphy discusses his faith and experience as a mission president in this interview with the minor league Stockton Ports.
Of note, Murphy began the I Won’t Cheat Foundation to discourage young baseball players from using performance-enhancing substances. Many believe he is not in the Hall of Fame because he ended his career just shy of 400 home runs. Meanwhile, baseball writers are keeping players with 600+ home runs out of the Hall of Fame because they were on steroids, but he wasn’t. What a world.
Also, Murphy played briefly for this writer’s favorite team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Then-teammate John Kruk described the Phils’ roster as “24 morons and one Mormon.”