In high school, Brett Hansen was a standout left-handed pitcher. He was the 12th-ranked pitcher in his 2018 high school class and was even drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 38th round of the 2018 MLB draft. He originally committed to play baseball for Stanford, but he was denied by admissions. Although he was never given a reason, he says it was implied that the Stanford Trees didn’t want to hold his spot for two years.
Conversations with Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin, as well as Corbin’s support of Hansen’s decision to serve a mission, led the young pitcher to commit to Vanderbilt.
“I was supportive of it, because it was something that was very important to him and his family,” Corbin told Vanderbilt’s student newspaper. “That servant type of behavior is hard to come by, regardless of what affiliation or religion you believe in. He was so passionate about wanting to do it that I certainly understood that at some point in time, [baseball] was going to be there for him again.”
Hansen was assigned to labor in the Texas Houston South Mission, and it just so happened his mission president knew a thing or two about baseball. President Jeremy Guthrie was an MLB pitcher for 15 years prior to his call to serve. The two had even spoken on the phone prior to Hansen receiving his call, according to an Instagram post President Guthrie shared in 2018.
President Guthrie understood the decisions that had led Hansen to the mission field rather than the baseball diamond. President Guthrie also chose to serve a mission after high school and served for two years in Spain.
“I’m pretty certain that if I started playing professional baseball as an 18- or 19-year-old, without the foundation of what I learned about myself while in Spain, I definitely would not have made it through the minor leagues,” President Guthrie told the Vanderbilt Hustler. “I most likely wouldn’t have made it to the big leagues at all, and I certainly don’t think I would have ever had a career in professional baseball.”
President Guthrie says he is confident the mission will also serve Hansen in his post-mission pursuits, adding that while he didn’t give Hansen any pitching tips, the two did play catch a few times.
Hansen is now home and ready to take his place on the mound once again. Coach Corbin says the team will be patient as he works to return to game shape.
Read more on the Vanderbilt Hustler website.