How many people who graduated from college this month can say they received congratulations from Eric Hosmer, Wade Davis, Alex Gordon and Drew Butera?
Then again, Jeremy Guthrie is not your typical college graduate. When Guthrie was selected in the first round of the 2002 draft by the Cleveland Indians, he was about 60 units (or hours) shy of getting his sociology degree.
Guthrie, 37, continued his school work over the next two years, but was about 18 hours shy of completing his work when he made his major-league debut in 2004. School stayed on the back burner until last season when he was still with the Royals.
“It was always important to get a degree, because I believe that’s a tremendous fallback for the majority of us baseball players who aren’t fortunate enough to have an extended career,” Guthrie said. “Having an education to fall back on is a great piece of mind, I know for me it was always a good feeling to know that I would have a college education regardless of what went on on the field.”
Guthrie said Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman rekindled his desire to get his degree. During spring training in 2015, Stroman suffered a torn ACL in his knee.
Stroman used that time to further his education.
“I saw on his social media that he was back at Duke rehabbing, but also finishing up the last few credit hours that he needed to graduate,” Guthrie said. “It put it back into my mind that maybe I should maybe reach out to Stanford and see what if anything could be done to help facilitate my graduation.
“When I reached out to them, my adviser Allison did a great job of touching base with the sociology department and the registrar’s office and found out that I could complete my degree by just completing a few units, so the roadblocks that had been in place 11 years ago were no longer and issue for me.”
Guthrie knocked out a few units last summer, then finished up during the winter into spring training, when he was with the Texas Rangers (he is currently a free agent).
“I took a couple of courses through professors that I knew,” he said. “It was more like directed reading, an online course. It was very easy for me to dedicate an hour or two a day reading and putting some time into papers that were required.
“Instead of getting up and spending two hours on Twitter, I spent that time reading.”
Earlier this month, Guthrie was back on the Stanford campus with his family, and he took part in the graduation ceremony.
“It was excellent,” Guthrie said. “It was my first time ever attending a college graduation. It was exciting. Stanford is a little bit of a wacky place — in a good way. I was concerned about wearing my cap and gown the right way and I got to the stadium and there were thousands of kids that weren’t even wearing caps and gowns, they were wearing toga costumes or doughnut rings around their waist or whatever else they decided to dress up as. It was pretty much Halloween at graduation. Half were dressed traditionally and the other half were dressed however in the world they wanted to be dressed.
“I could have shown up in a full Royals uniform with a black graduation cap and I would have looked totally normal.”