Jeremy Guthrie Returns To The Farm
Feb. 1, 2002
Jeremy Guthrie was a pleasant sight when he walked back onto The Farm last September. Stanford's surprise ace pitcher from the 2001 season did have two years of collegiate eligibility remaining after last year, but he was also a 22-year-old draft eligible sophomore that was chosen in the third round of the 2001 MLB First-Year Player Draft last June. Players selected that high in the draft normally sign professional baseball contracts.
But, Guthrie's case was different.
A solid student, the 1997 high school graduate had finished only two years of collegiate studies due to two years on a Mormon mission in Spain. Also, he was newly married to the former Jenny Williams, whom he wed four days after the completion of the 2001 season.
'The biggest factors were my education and family life,' said Guthrie for his reason to come back to Stanford this season. 'If I had signed a professional baseball contract after last year, it wouldn't have given me much of a chance to graduate from Stanford in a reasonable amount of time. Now, if baseball doesn't work out, I'll be able to fall back on a Stanford education.'
Guthrie was also able to spend some quality time with his new bride during their first summer together. The couple honeymooned in Hawaii for two weeks and spent much of the summer traveling to visit friends and family in Washington, Los Angeles and Utah.
Guthrie needed the break after a workhorse 2001 season in which he compiled a 13-4 record and a sparkling 2.82 ERA, striking out 128 batters in a career-high 134.0 innings to earn Second and Third Team All-American honors.
'I had never thrown more than about 60 innings in a season,' said Guthrie of his heavy workload. 'But, I felt strong at both the beginning and the end of the season after a bit of a slide during the middle. This year, I hope I can maintain my strength and effectiveness all year long.'
The expectations this season will be different for Guthrie. Last year, he strolled onto the Stanford campus as a virtual unknown on the collegiate baseball scene before being whisked into the starting rotation after an impressive fall. This year, Guthrie is a three-time First Team Preseason All-American.
'There are differences (between this year and last year),' admitted Guthrie. 'When you're not well-known, you feel that you can go out there with nothing to lose, but hopefully that's the same type of attitude that you can go out there with even when you're expected to do well. I realize that anything can happen this year, but I'm going to work as hard as I can and put myself in position to succeed. My attitude is always the same -- to give it all I can and see what the results are.'
Guthrie thinks the results may be pretty good for a 2002 Stanford team that also returns all of its position player starters from last year's CWS championship game and is coming off a 51-17 season in 2001. This year's squad features six seniors that are attempting to become the first group of Stanford Baseball players to reach Omaha for four straight seasons.
'The guys are relaxed but working very hard to reach our goals,' said Guthrie. 'We feel like it's now or never and are giving it the extra effort. We feel that there is unfinished business to take care of, and we want to put ourselves in the position to get back to Omaha.'
Professional baseball ultimately awaits Guthrie. But for now he's content with college life and another crack at the College World Series title that has narrowly eluded the Cardinal each of the past two seasons.
Plus, his wife Jenny is picking up a few baseball tips along the way.
'She enjoys watching the game,' said Guthrie. 'I quizzed her a little bit last summer, and she is learning quite a bit about some baseball strategy.'
Guthrie also says that Jenny has helped out some of the guys on the team by giving a few haircuts and cooking dinner.
'The guys always ask me what's for dinner,' laughed Guthrie. 'We've had four or five different pitchers come over. Jenny does the bulk of the cooking, but I do the dishes.'
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