Feature: Baseball's Jeremy Guthrie
March 8, 2002
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer
Stanford's Jeremy Guthrie went from being an unknown pitcher to a dominantace in just over a year.
After not touching a baseball while on a two-year Mormon mission in Spain,Guthrie stepped onto campus as a transfer from Brigham Young in July 2000,pitched his way into the Cardinal's rotation and became one of the leaders of ateam that went to the College World Series championship in June.
'I think there's a lot of things I just can't explain,' said Guthrie, whowent 13-4 with a 2.82 ERA last season and was 4-0 heading into Friday night'sstart against California.
'It was something that I certainly didn't expect,' the junior right-handersaid. 'The whole year seemed to be like a dream come true. It just keptgetting better.'
The good times continued into the offseason. Guthrie married longtimegirlfriend Jenny Williams four days after the season ended. He also opted toreturn to Stanford despite being drafted in the third round by the PittsburghPirates.
'Academically, I wasn't even a junior yet, so I had more than two yearsremaining and it's a great atmosphere for my wife and I to be in together,'said the 22-year-old sociology major from Ashland, Ore. 'The chance to playbaseball again on a team that returned a lot of players played a role.'
Guthrie, a three-sport star and class valedictorian in high school, went 5-3with a 6.10 ERA as a freshman at BYU in 1998. He then went on his mission, andbaseball quickly became a distant memory.
'With the amount of work we had, there wasn't a whole lot of time to thinkabout baseball,' Guthrie said. 'The only reference I had to baseball while Iwas there was one time when my dad wrote me a letter saying that San Diego wasplaying against the Yankees in the World Series.'
While in Spain, Guthrie's parents asked him in a letter if he would beinterested in transferring to Stanford once he returned. Guthrie jumped at theidea, and coach Mark Marquess agreed to give him a look. But Marquess wasn'tsure what to expect.
'Well, since he didn't pick up a ball in two years, I figured he'd maybe bethe third or fourth starter, or maybe pitch in middle relief,' Marquess said.'We knew his arm was well-rested, that's for sure.'
Guthrie was eager to test his arm, but took things slow. He hit the weightroom, jogged regularly and got back into baseball shape.
'I think it was good for me to jump into an environment where people reallyfocused on baseball,' Guthrie said. 'Coming to Stanford, I really made up forsome time lost as far as baseball.'
Once the season began, Guthrie developed excellent command of a 90-mphfastball and polished his exceptional offspeed pitches. He quickly establishedhimself as the Cardinal's most consistent starter and capped his season bybeating Cal State-Fullerton to put Stanford in the title game against Miami.
'He's just a great athlete,' Marquess said. 'To come in at this level anddo what he has done is amazing.'
A year removed from obscurity, Guthrie isn't worried about pressure to matchlast year's success.
'I just have to work as hard as I can every single day and trust that theright things will happen,' he said. 'Just like last year.'