Throughout the 2009 baseball season, Grant Desme left his opponents with little peace. Playing for three different teams in the A's minor league organization, he flexed a powerful bat, earning MVP honors in the prospect-heavy Arizona Fall League. He seemed destined to play outfield in the big leagues within the next few years.
One problem: "God blessed me tremendously, I had a great season, but there was no peace about it," said Desme, 23.
Last week, he shocked the baseball world by retiring from the game to enter the priesthood. "I just felt like I had to do it now, he said"
Desme's had an injury-riddled career since being drafted in the second round in 2007. He broke a bone in his wrist in 2007, then separated his shoulder early in 2008. He considered retiring before the 2009 season, but wanted to make sure his decision wasn't influenced by his injuries.
In 2009, finally healthy, he excelled on the field, hitting .288 with 31 home runs, 89 RBI and 40 steals in the regular season. In the Arizona Fall League, he hit .315 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI. That success solidified his decision -- even when playing well, his heart was not in baseball.
"Baseball could end," Desme said. "I could have stepped into Spring Training and ended my career there, with an injury or something, or just not cut it at the next level. You never know what could happen with baseball."
Desme called A's General Manager Billy Beane to inform him of his decision. The A's say they are at peace with Desme's retirement.
"We respect Grant's decision and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors," Beane said in a statement to MLB.com.
But word of Desme's decision was a surprise around the league, where the prospect was seen as a can't miss future big leaguer. A's farm director Keith Lieppman spoke to Desme, then called several scouts to get their opinion, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
One of those scouts summed it up pretty well: "Oh my God! Holy smokes!"
The scout's words are proof that Desme's quest to help people remember God was already off to a roaring start.