From baseball to soccer to golf, senior Gerhard Muelheims may have competition running through his veins, but there is more to the Whitworth baseball player than what most see on the field. At the age of 5, Muelheims was introduced to the world of athletics and began his baseball career.
“Growing up I played a lot of sports,” Muelheims said. “I grew up in a competitive family with two younger brothers and I started baseball because it was the sport of the season and I’ve been playing ever since.”
Muelheims is known by his teammates as a successful person with many talents, senior Jason Renner said, but he has overcome tremendous adversity to become the accomplished athlete that he is today.
Early in the morning of January 2006, 13-year-old Muelheims was on his way to basketball practice in Spokane with his dad, when their 1987 Mustang convertible lost traction and slid over a 20-foot embankment on Mill Road and landed upside down, said Karl Muelheims, Gerhard’s younger brother and a sophomore soccer player at Whitworth.
“Gerhard didn’t really play sports for maybe a year and a half to two years after that,” Karl said. “He injured some tracking part in his eye, so when he tried playing sports he would have extreme anxiety while playing, and it no longer became enjoyable for him.”
The devastating injury took its toll on the competitive athlete both physically and mentally.
“I remember one time he came home from school and he broke down because he couldn’t focus the same like what he was used to,” Karl said. “Coming back from something like that with all the setbacks he had made him work even harder at everything, and that work ethic has definitely stuck with him.”
After fighting through obstacles, Muelheims was able to pick up baseball as if he had never left, Karl said.
“There are a lot of times you are not going to be successful in life,” Gerhard said. “But if you are approaching things the right way and putting in hard work, then more often than not you are going to be successful.”
At Whitworth, Muelheims has had a successful baseball career. He batted .311 his freshman year and started all 48 games of the season his sophomore year. As a junior, he led the Pirates in runs scored in addition to batting .414 and received the Whitworth Pirate Baseball Scholastic Excellence Award.
One of his favorite memories of his collegiate career was going to the Division III College World Series in 2012 as a sophomore, Muelheims said.
“We’ve established that everyone looks up to him as our leader on the field,” Renner said. “He’s been one of our top three players the past three years and he sets the bar high for everybody.”
Muelheims has had to adjust to playing different positions over his college years — starting out as a second baseman, to shortstop, to now playing in the outfield his senior year.
“In my career I’ve played every position except for pitcher,” Muelheims said. “I like being the utility guy where you just show up and don’t really know what position you are going to play. It’s something new every time and it makes the game that much more exciting for me.”
Although he is dedicated to sports, Muelheims does not put all of his effort and hard work into baseball alone.
“He is a much better person, leader, athlete and Christian than lots of other people I know and myself,” Karl said. “He is not the most athletic or the smartest, but he is the one guy that works the hardest and puts his heart into everything he does, and I look up to him for that.”
On the field Muelheims is very serious and competitive, but outside of competitive sports Muelheims is an entertaining person, senior Justin Liu said.
“He likes to make weird noises and talk in funny voices a lot. I have no idea how to imitate them but he is just a goofy guy who is good at creating a really light atmosphere,” Liu said. “He also has an array of cologne so you can tell where he’s been...He’s just a funny, good-smelling guy.”
In the future, Muelheims plans to graduate with an accounting degree and obtain a certified public accountant license, Muelheims said. As for baseball, this will be his last year playing competitively.
“Maybe in the future I’ll be playing in some old man softball league,” Muelheims said. “I don’t really know how I’ll handle that last game of the season, but I play a lot of sports so I know I’ll always be involved in athletics.”