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Jeremy Guthrie Digs Chess, Mormon Missions, and Striking Your Ass Out

Jul 7, 2007 – 7:51 AM
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The Orioles probably weren't expecting a helluva lot when they claimed former Indians farmhand Jeremy Guthrie off waivers. But the rookie has turned out to be one of the bright spots on a woeful Baltimore team, sporting a crisp 2.63 ERA, the best in the AL East, and a MLB-leading 0.89 WHIP.

A stroke of good luck for the Orioles, perhaps. But Guthrie thinks otherwise. The rookie phenom claims he became a better pitcher after a two-year Mormon mission through the northern part of Spain.

"Things I never did prior to the mission I was able to do afterward, even though it wasn't by my doing," Guthrie said. "It wasn't something I expected or asked for. I didn't want to be a missionary for two years so I could be a better baseball player. In high school, I worked 10 hours a day and lifted weights, and I wasn't able to come close to achieving what I could when I got back."

Though he's convinced his faith got him to the bigs, the chess-loving Guthrie -- he reportedly bested all his former Indians teammates at the game -- won't get too preachy in the clubhouse. But he's happy to answer teammates' questions.

A few days ago, [Os catcher Paul] Bako was curious about the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Guthrie is careful to talk about it. He said there's a fine line between educating and proselytizing. Yet his faith, Guthrie said, landed him here. And what better way to honor it than spreading his story by convincing more and more people that he's not just here, but here to stay.

The Orioles may need more than divine intervention to climb back into the AL East race. But with Guthrie, they've got one of the best feel-good stories in baseball.

Via Camden Chat.

Filed under: Sports