Jed's parents, Dan and Miriam Lowrie, are the type of people who get excited about life and learning—by experiences. And Jed, their only child, is the same way. He greets life with passion and he has manifested that in everything, including his grown-up job as a Major League Baseball player.
"He really started throwing the ball around when he was 2 or 3 year old," Miriam says, "and with pretty good accuracy. It just seemed to come naturally for him."
Lowrie says, "From an early age, I was able to get good instruction. My dad wasn't a big-time athlete, but he started me at a young age and saw something—saw I maybe had some talent. He always provided me with the opportunities."
Lowrie's father, Dan grew up on a farm and went to Oregon State to get a degree in agriculture. Both he and Miriam, who grew up in Minnesota, were members of the the FFA (Future Farmers of America). But Dan Lowrie's profession ended up being as a banker.
Their backyard spanned three-quarters of an acre, and they owned a farm about 25 minutes away that they'd visit on the way to or from Jed's hitting lessons. Lowrie says he liked visiting the little calves, though it was the family dog that he showed at a 4-H competition at the local county fair.
Jed's Mom also led 4-H cooking classes every week for he and his friends. Every week, they'd make a new meal. Now Lowrie, a fine cook, says he likes to try out new recipes at home with his wife, Milessa. She was a freshman at Stanford University when she met Jed.
Milessa was a varsity pole-vaulter at Stanford, while Jed was the Cardinal's star baseball player (twice named to the Baseball America All-America team). They dated off and on while in college, but Milessa steered away from a serious relationship while working on degrees in international relations and Spanish. A master's degree in public affairs and international realtions from Princeton followed, and by then, Lowrie was also on the East Coast playing baseball. They finally formed a serious relationship and were married in 2011.
Milessa was eventually hired by the U.S. State Department, which attached her to the American consulate in Toronto. She's now based in Latin America while Lowrie jets around the States for six months out of the year, plying his trade.
"We've gone up to six weeks without seeing each other, but we both know how much we want to spend time together, and so the time we do spend with each other is that much better," Jed says. "We both maintain that we are chasing our dreams right now. We always said we're always going to make it work."
In November 2011, Lowrie married Milessa Muchmore-Lowrie. They honeymooned in Africa. The memories of both the wedding and the voyage into the unknowns of the wilderness—Lowrie and his wife had to take a pair of 9 1/2-hour flights to reach Tanzania—will last a lifetime in their minds and forever in the vivid images of the more than 7,000 photos Lowrie snapped while on the trip.
"It was just an amazing opportunity," he said. "If you were to ask any serious or semi-serious photographer, one of their dreams would be to go to Africa and shoot a safari. The raw footage, the raw data you get in a place like that is just absolutely incredible.
"Animals you don't see anywhere else but in a zoo in the states, man-killing animals, are out in the wild living their lives, and you're just a part of it. It's an experience that is hard to describe, but one that everybody should experience."
Jed kept a knife within close reach and an air horn at his side, just in case. He had been warned that life in the east African desert can be dangerous and knew he had to be prepared if a lion or some other ferocious animal happened to make its way upon his encampment.
The idea of a close encounter with some of nature's most fascinating creatures and the opportunity to spend some time in their environment certainly came with its share of treachery. But on this winter night, in the depths of the Serengeti, the only thing Lowrie had to worry about were a few curious hyenas that were sniffing around his tent.
"The only time that I felt scared was the first night in the Serengeti," said Lowrie. "We were out there, underneath a big canvas tent. Right before we went to sleep, our guide brought us to the tent, showed us around, gave us an air horn, and said, 'Blow this if there's a lion in your tent.'"
Jed and Milessa built a home in Houston, and she was due to delivery their first baby in December 2013. She planned on taking a few years off, then when Jed closes the book on is baseball career, he will assume the stay-at-home duties.
Jed is Swedish.
Lowrie was an afterthought in a Stanford University recruiting class that included John Mayberry Jr., who turned down over $1 million from the Mariners to go to the school.
Jed passed up other college offers from Georgetown, several Ivy League schools, Oregon State, and Baylor.
At Stanford, he won the Pac-10 Conference triple crown as a sophomore.
In 2005, Lowrie led the NYP League in on-base percentage (.429).
During the off-season before 2006 spring training, Baseball America rated Jed as 9th-best prospect in the Red Sox organization.
But in the spring 2007, they dropped him down to #16.
Lowrie worked his way all the way up to #5 in the Boston farm system.
Lowrie has an excellent work ethic and mental makeup. Nobody works harder. He is fearless on the field, with a respectable cockiness—a presence in the way he carries himself.
He is very mature, and a nice, respectful young man.
In June 2007, Jed had his streak of reaching base snapped at 38 games—the third-longest in Portland Sea Dogs (EL) history.
Lowrie has a little spot in baseball history because he belted a grand slam home run in an exhibition game with the Mets on April 4, 2009 at Citi Field, the first-ever round tripper hit in the Mets' brand new ballyard.
Lowrie is so passionate about taking pictures he used photography as an elective to finish his degree in political science at Stanford University in 2011. He's even set up a website to display his images, and he eventually plans to sell prints of his work, but the web address won't go public until he's done tying up some loose ends.
"Photography is addictive and expensive," he said. "I come out here and compete on the baseball field, and it's my creative outlet."
He and his wife have also been to South America and Europe.
Jed studied photography as a youth, then rekindled his interest in 2009 while sitting out most of the season with mono. And he went in and finished his degree through Stanford's art department.
The couple visited Tanzania on their honeymoon in 2011 and have been to Belize, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico City.
"It's seeing different cultures -- the way people live," Lowrie said early in 2016. "With international travel, inevitably, something is going to go wrong. So you have to be flexible. I don't know if it keeps you young, but it keeps your on your toes at the very least."
Part of the Lowrie's travel is a by-product of Melissa's former position as a diplomat with the U.S. State Department. She was stationed in Toronto by resigned when the Lowries welcomed their first child, daughter Saige.
In June 2012, Lowrie was named the Astros' Player Representative to the Players Association, as voted in by teammates.
Jed's favorite movie theater snack: Chocolate covered Gummy Bears.
Junk food he can't resist: Oreos. But the food he refuses to eat? "Seafood. He won't really eat oysters, mussels, shellfish—that kind of thing," said his wife, Miriam.
First CD or Album he ever owned: Carlos Santana: "Smooth"
Lowrie's biggest fear? "I'd have to say sharks," Jed said.
Favorite super-hero while growing up? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Feb 18, 2017: Lowrie is able to run again, and sleep better. The nine-year veteran had two surgeries within a month last year. First, a multifaceted procedure to repair ligament damage and remove a bunion and cyst in his left foot. Then, an operation to resolve a deviated septum and relieve him of nasal issues that had disrupted his sleep for nearly a decade.
Lowrie and wife Milessa had their second child in the offseason, a son named Miles, and Lowrie said he's "actually sleeping better and I've got a small infant at home."
"I'm sleeping half as many hours at night, but I'm feeling better in the morning," he said. "If you look at how constricted my airway was, I've probably been sleep-deprived for the last nine years. That's not something that changes overnight, but that certainly made a big difference in my training and everything this offseason, because when you're not resting … I would sleep nine to 10 hours a night before and wake up and still feel tired."
"I look back at last year and see how compromised I was, and all the adjustments you make to try to play when you're hurt," he said. "I've gotten into a good routine to try to correct some of the bad habits I had last year. "Toward the end there, I was so limited in what I could do, that pretty much anything at this point would be better." (J Lee - MLB.com - Feb 18, 2017)
Jed won the 2017 Catfish Hunter Award, a team award voted on by players, coaches and staff members for the team's most inspirational player. The award is presented annually to the player whose performance and conduct best exemplify the spirit of the late Hall of Fame pitcher.
"It means a lot," Lowrie said. "Hopefully, that means I've earned the respect of the guys in here with the way I approach the game and the way that I performed. Anytime you can get an award that's associated with someone as foundational as Catfish Hunter is to this organization, it's pretty cool." (Simon - mlb.com - 9/27/17)
Jed conducted three clinics in four days with help from Nicaragua native and Angels pitcher JC Ramirez and former big leaguer John Mayberry Jr., who roomed with Lowrie at Stanford.
Stanford is also where Jed met his wife, Milessa, who worked at the U.S. State Department for several years as a diplomat, enjoying stints in Toronto and Mexico City before returning stateside to start a family. Together, they've given new meaning to a perfect marriage, binding baseball and diplomacy. "I think it's a pretty special combination," Lowrie said.
Milessa, who made countless connections during her time in the State Department, took a request from one of them to her husband several years ago. Lowrie, asked if he would be interested in traveling to Colombia as a sports envoy, jumped at the opportunity to bring the game around the world.
In 2015, he teamed up with Project Beisbol, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources to baseball and softball programs in Latin American communities, and ran clinics in Bogota, Cartagena and Barranquilla. In January 2018, they were at it again, this time in Managua, Nicaragua, and surrounding areas -- the power of sport to unite looming large in these communities.
Like Colombia, Nicaragua was identified by Project Beisbol as a country that could see the game expand with investment and development. Support for their latest venture was widespread; the U.S. Embassy in Managua, the Nicaraguan Federation of Associated Baseball and the MLB Players Association's non-profit organization, the Players Trust, were all involved in the project, which included the donation of hundreds of pounds of equipment.
Lowrie and Co. played host to 75 kids each day, many of them girls who were made to feel empowered throughout the experience. The participants jumped between stations, receiving not only extensive baseball instruction, but lessons on gender equality and gender-based violence through workshops run by local experts.
The clinics were located at various sites, offering a broad view of the baseball landscape in Nicaragua. One was set up at Dennis Martinez National Stadium, a just-completed project that provides Major League-quality facilities, while others were staged down a dirt road in rural areas described by Lowrie as "the more real Nicaragua."
"There couldn't have been a larger dichotomy," he explained. "But even on these back fields, you see the talent and the love of the game. I got out there and I pitched to them. Literally just a dirt field with a little grass here and there, kids using old catchers' helmets that didn't have the bill on it, and as they're running to first base, they're tossing off the helmet so the next kid could use it because they only have so many."
Lowrie doesn't speak Spanish, but it didn't matter. Baseball, he quickly learned, is a universal language. "When I talk about these movements that I'm going to do, you can tell they're comprehending all of it," he said. "Whether you speak English, Spanish, Japanese, there are always constants."
Lowrie fully intends to continue these efforts, even when he is done playing. Already, it's become a family affair, with 4-year-old Saige joining her parents in Nicaragua last month. Brother Miles, not yet 2, will soon be able to tag along. "That's something that's important to us, having a worldly view, because it gives you perspective," Lowrie said. "I think it's important to travel internationally and have these experiences and share them with others." (Lee - mlb.com - 2/21/18)