Last year was major for Major League Mormons—or at least for one of them. This makes the third year that I have looked at what those of us who follow these Mormons want to know each April, and I’m wondering if I should look at this information more often.
These Major League Mormons are, of course, those playing baseball professionally.
Last year was significant mainly because of one Mormon: Roy Halladay. The Phillies ace had perhaps the most successful season of any pitcher in baseball history. After winning the opening game for his team, Halladay then threw the 20th perfect game in baseball history on May 29th, and when the Phillies made the post-season, went on to throw only the second post-season no-hitter in baseball history. Throwing two no-hitters in a single season is remarkable itself—its only happened 5 times. Add the fact that one was in the post-season (when competition is stiffer) and the other was a perfect game, and Halladay’s pitching last year was unique.
If you follow baseball, (and maybe even if you don’t) you may find it interesting to know which players you see are Mormon, and who might make it to the Majors this year. The team you follow may include a Mormon player you don’t know about, or you might like to know about the Mormon players on visiting teams.
My own lists of Mormons who have played in the Majors include about 75 Mormons (including inactive LDS Church members and others with Mormon heritage) who have played in the majors. This is my third compilation of those Mormons who are actively playing in both the Major Leagues and in the Minor Leagues. I’ve managed to find a lot of additional information, especially on Mormons playing in the Minors.
[I don't claim my information is complete or absolutely accurate. Some of it comes from information I collected years ago, and some comes from personal information that I've not yet been able to verify in documentation. Any clarification or additional information would be very useful.]
So, here is a quick guide to the Mormons on major league rosters, or who are listed as being on minor league teams at this time, and therefore may be brought up to the majors during the year or in future years:
Current Roster Players:
- John Buck — starting catcher — Florida Marlins
- Jacoby Ellsbury — starting outfielder — Boston Red Sox
- Kyle Farnsworth — closer — Tampa Bay Rays
- Jeremy Guthrie — starting pitcher (right handed) — Baltimore Orioles
- Roy Halladay — starting pitcher (right handed) — Philadelphia Phillies
- Matt Lindstrom — right handed bullpen pitcher – Colorado Rockies
- Brandon Lyon — right handed bullpen pitcher — Houston Astros
- Mitch Maier — backup outfielder — Kansas City Royals
- Mitch Talbot — starting pitcher?? (right handed) — Cleveland Indians
Minor League Players who may make the majors:
- Jacob Borup—right handed starting pitcher — Philadelphia Phillies organization
- Matt Carson — left field — Oakland As organization
- Brandon Duckworth — right handed bullpen pitcher — Boston Red Sox organization
- Bryce Harper — left field — Washington Nationals organizations
- Blaine Howell —left handed bullpen pitcher — Cincinnati Reds organization
- Kyle Hurst — right handed bullpen pitcher — Los Angeles Angels organization
- Cale Iorg — Shortstop — Detroit Tigers organization
- Aaron Jensen — right handed bullpen pitcher — Seattle Mariner’s organization
- Jon Nelson — outfielder — Joliet JackHammers
- Chris Shelton — first base — New York Mets organization
- Kent Walton — outfielder — Oakland A’s organization
- Jordan Whatcott —right handed bullpen pitcher — Philadelphia Phillies organization
- Bobby Crosby — backup shortstop — was with Pittsburgh Pirates
- Mitch Jones — right field — was with Pittsburgh Pirates organization
- Jared Price — catcher — was with Oakland A’s organization
Players who may be Mormon:
- Eric Byrnes — left field — Seattle Mariners
- Willie Eyre — pitcher — Texas Rangers organization
- Kam Mickolio — pitcher — Arizona Diamondbacks organization
- Egan Smith — left handed bullpen pitcher — Toronto Blue Jays organization
- Jordan Smith — right handed bullpen pitcher — Cinncinnati Reds organization
- Brad Thompson — pitcher — Houston Astros organization – (released)
- Other remote possibilities: Jay Brossman, Ryan Khoury, Cole Miles, Matt Spring, Dallas Christison, Tyson Brummett, Steve Hirschfeld, A. J. Murray, Tanner Robles
- Jeremy Guthrie, along with Roy Halladay, remains the strongest of the Mormon players. Guthrie, the ace of the Orioles pitching staff for a few years, is an active LDS Church members from what I’ve read.
- As far as I can tell, no Mormon players had their debut in the Majors last year.
- Many of these players have served LDS missions, including (at least) Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Lindstrom, Blaine Howell, Kyle Hurst, Jon Nelson and Cale Iorg.
- Garrett Nash (Oregon State), Mark Pawelek (?? – from Springville HS), Taylor Cole (BYU), Rob Folsom (Oregon State) are all players in college or post high school that could be drafted.
- Troy Cate, Shawn Estes, Nate Gold, Chase Leavitt, Brandon Taylor, David Jensen have apparently retired or otherwise left baseball.
Enjoy the season!!