Elder Quentin L. Cook took his place as the pitcher July 22 at Los Angeles Dodger Stadium, wound up and threw the first ball in the game with the Washington Nationals. He threw a good pitch that was called a strike.
He had plenty of witnesses to his athletic feat, including some 4,200 Latter-day Saints who attended Mormon Night at the stadium, a tradition that goes back more than two decades and kicked off events commemorating the westward trek of Mormon pioneers.
With what sounded like a bit of amazement in his voice, Elder Cook recounted in a conversation with the Church News his moment in a major league ballpark, an accomplishment that is bound to be recounted by his descendants for many years.
He played baseball in the center field position on his high school team in Logan, Utah; he also played basketball and football. He was all-region in all three sports. "I played on some outstanding teams and had exceptional teammates, including Merlin Olsen," he said. Brother Olsen went on to become a professional football player who made it into the Hall of Fame and was an actor.
"Your mind tells you that you can still throw really well, but after 50 years without much practice, it was more challenging than I thought," Elder Cook said of his turn as a pitcher in Dodger Stadium.
The game was made more rewarding with the presence of seven of 11 of his grandchildren. Two of them, Jack Cook, 9, and Logan Knight, 11, were among a group of LDS Primary children who were invited to go out on the field at the beginning of the game. Each received an autographed ball from a Dodger player. Elder Cook said that Logan asked Dodger outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to write the name of his older brother, David, on the ball so he could give it to David as a souvenir.
Jerryl Garns, an Area Seventy, caught Elder Cook's pitch at the beginning of the game. Jim Jacobsen, a local Church leader, was the umpire.