After a highly successful 15-year career, LDS pitcher Jeremy Guthrie announced his retirement today. But his groundbreaking, historical firsts as an LDS pitcher in the MLB and how he demonstrated his faith will continue to inspire others.
In October 2013, Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie made MLB and Mormon history as the first returned missionary to appear in the World Series. Guthrie was also the oldest first-round pick to reach the majors in this century—another historic fact that can be attributed to his LDS mission.
After selecting Guthrie in the 15th round, the Mets offered him a $650,000 bonus. Guthrie declined, determined to serve a mission. Then the Mets general manager asked Guthrie if $1 million would convince him to play baseball full time. Guthrie refused, choosing his mission over the Mets.
After a mission to Spain and a successful MLB career, Guthrie doesn't regret his decision. After signing with the Cleveland Indians, at an early training session the Indians coaching staff asked each player, "Who are you?"
Guthrie unhesitatingly replied, "I am a child of God" ("LDS Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie Speaks at Devotional," Deseret News).
About his experiences, Guthrie says, "Everything you do in life is preparing you to meet God. I wanted to do what the Lord wanted me to do.”
Today, Jeremy Guthrie says the greatest part of his life is "this family that I have."
But Jeremy Guthrie isn't the only LDS professional baseball player to turn down a big bonus for his mission. McKay Christensen turned down a $1 million signing bonus with the California Angels, saying, "My mission is not for sale.” And Cale Iorg turned down a $400,000 signing bonus with the Rays in order to serve a mission to Lisbon, Portugal.