[Portions of this article are reprinted from Sports and Faith: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout Copyright 2015 Sporting Chance Press that can be seen in the product section of this website.]
Grant Desme was born April 4, 1986 in Bakersfield, California. His love of baseball blossomed as a student at Stockdale High School. In college, he earned the title of Big West Conference Player of the Year at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Grant got his start in his professional career with the Short-Season Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League in 2007. He batted .261 with three doubles, one home run, six RBIs, and two stolen bases. In the 2008 season he only played two games, after he injured his wrist in 2007 and his shoulder in 2008. Then in 2009 he hit a combined .288 with 31 doubles, 6 triples, 31 home runs, 89 RBIs and 40 stolen bases in 131 games for the Class-A Kane County Cougars and the Class-A Advanced Stockton Ports. The Arizona Fall League’s Joe Black Most Valuable Player Award followed these achievements!
Desme shocked the baseball world on January 22, 2010 when he announced plans to retire from professional baseball and begin his studies to become a Roman Catholic priest. Desme left behind his baseball contract, shiny SUV and other worldly trappings to embrace a life of poverty, celibacy, and obedience at Saint Michael’s Abbey.
For most young men, it’s hard to imagine giving up a major league career for the priesthood. But it was really a clear choice for Grant Desme.
Perhaps more than anything, Desme was focused on God’s will. Sports Faith International honored Grant Desme with the Father Smyth Award in 2011 that goes to an exceptional athlete who leaves behind a promising career in sports for a religious vocation. Sporting Chance Press included Grant’s story in our book: Sports and Faith: More Stories of the Devoted and the Devout.
But discernment for the priesthood is a process. And the training and education to become a priest takes the better part of a decade. Roughly seven years into his studies, Desme felt that God was pointing him in another direction–towards a family. In 2017, Desme left Saint Michael’s Abbey and went back home to Bakersfield. From Bakersfield he journeyed to Ave Maria University outside of Naples where he was offered a job to coach the team where he has been ever since. Desme has also found enough time to play ball on the side.