Jed Lowrie Hits Books at Stanford to Keep Up With Globetrotting Fiancee
Jed Lowrie opened his laptop, put the finishing touches on a 17-page paper comparing the baseball and football players' unions, and e-mailed it to his Stanford professor.
With that Lowrie completed his last coursework for a degree in political science -- 8 1/2 years after first arriving at Stanford.
"I had invested too much time," Lowrie said Wednesday. "I knew it was going to happen. It was just a matter of finding the right time."
No matter how his season goes on the field for Boston -- which plans to give him a significant amount of playing time as a backup at all four infield positions -- it promises to be a huge year for Lowrie. On Nov. 12, he will marry Milessa Muchmore. (Fret not, Sox fans; that's 16 days after a potential Game 7 of the World Series.)
And if you want to know what it's like to be the spouse of a Stanford grad whose job requires always being away from home, don't ask Milessa. Ask Jed.
Muchmore, a former Stanford pole vaulter, works for the U.S. State Department and is currently posted in Toronto. But she will get a new posting after the wedding, meaning she could be anywhere in the world a year from now.
The typical baseball marriage means lots of time apart, but this will take it to a new extreme.
"The distance will be greater," Lowrie said, "but I think the exciting thing about it is we're both chasing our dreams right now. This is something that she's very passionate about, something that she's wanted to do for a long time. We basically have decided that we're going to follow our dreams, and when we can we're going to meet up. And in the end, we're going to be together."
Muchmore, who was a year behind Lowrie in school, was told Wednesday her next posting will be in Latin America.
But she will have some time off before that for the wedding, a honeymoon (perhaps an African safari) and some time at Lowrie's house in Arizona -- where he has spent all of three weeks the past year.
Lowrie said "it might be" harder to be the spouse of a diplomat than the spouse of a major leaguer.
"I don't know which is more complicated," Muchmore said. "It's made us a lot more understanding and flexible with the other person's career demands."
In a way, when her new assignment gets finalized, it will mean she got traded before Lowrie did.
"When she came back from (an internship in) Spain in 2008," he said, "we figured out that it actually might work better with my lifestyle and hers. Because how many other people have three or four months during the offseason to go and live with her and not give up anything?"
For the moment, Lowrie is two degrees behind Muchmore, who has a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Stanford and a Master's in Public Affairs and International Relations from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
When the Sox drafted Lowrie in 2005, he was three quarters -- a full academic year -- from getting his degree. He went back to campus for the fall quarter in 2005 and again in 2006 after playing in Single-A. That left him needing to finish 15 more credits and one incomplete class.
But he played in the Arizona Fall League in 2007, and in 2008 and '09 he was on the Red Sox roster for the playoffs.
Then last year, Lowrie caught mononucleosis and missed the first 3 1/2 months of the season. Sent to Fort Myers to recuperate and with nothing to do, he wrote a paper (also on the baseball players' union) to finish off the incomplete in his last required political science class.
"I figured I might as well do something with my time," Lowrie said. "When I wasn't sleeping, I was studying and reading."
While back at Stanford last fall for the Stanford alumni baseball game, Lowrie met with an academic advisor to put together a plan for his final three electives: two photography classes (which involved taking about 120 photos, reading five textbooks and writing two papers on modern photographer Mark Klett and photography pioneer Oscar Gustave Rejlander); and an independent-study course (for which he wrote the baseball/football paper).
"It was a stated goal of Jed's when he signed," said Brodie Van Wagenen, Lowrie's agent with CAA Baseball and also a Stanford grad. "His ascent to the big leagues just prolonged the time it took to get it done."
(Lowrie will miss commencement; he'll be wearing a different cap, and no gown, on June 12 as the Red Sox play at Toronto.)
A June 2009 study by the Wall Street Journal found just 26 big-league players and managers who had earned a college degree. Once Lowrie's application for graduation is completed, it is believed he will be the eighth recent major leaguer from Stanford with a degree.
Lowrie, a switch-hitter from Salem, Ore., who turns 27 in April, last year hit nine homers and had a .907 OPS in 197 at-bats.
"He kind of gives us that super-utility-type guy that can cover us at every position," manager Terry Francona said. "The hope is that he at some point grows into being an everyday player. I think that's how we view him. It just may not be in April.
"In the meantime he can really help us win games, being so versatile."
Lowrie won't be the only member of the family moving around.
"While it might be hard for a couple of years, definitely we will never get bored," Lowrie said.
"I think it's going to be really fun, really exciting. She's going to get a lot of experience, and I will too. ... There's so many variables, and that's what makes it exciting."