Sean Doolittle
Sean Doolittle (51204221588) (cropped).jpg
Doolittle with the Cincinnati Reds in 2021
Washington Nationals – No. 63
Pitcher
Born: (1986-09-26) September 26, 1986 (age 35)
Rapid City, South Dakota
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
MLB debut
June 5, 2012, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
(through April 10, 2022)
Win–loss record26–24
Earned run average3.22
Strikeouts519
Saves112
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Sean Robert Doolittle (born September 26, 1986) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Oakland Athletics, Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners. He won the 2019 World Series with the Nationals.

The Athletics selected Doolittle in the first round in the 2007 MLB draft, as a first baseman and outfielder. He made his MLB debut in 2012 as a pitcher. He was an All-Star in 2014 and 2018.

Early life

Doolittle grew up in Tabernacle Township, New Jersey. He lived close to the baseball field and often went there to practice. He played Babe Ruth Baseball as a pitcher.[citation needed]

Doolittle attended Shawnee High School in Medford, New Jersey, where he was a stand-out pitcher. Doolittle led Shawnee to a state championship. Doolittle played for the University of Virginia as both a starting pitcher and first baseman. He formerly held the record for wins in a career for a Virginia pitcher — 22 — which has since been passed by Danny Hultzen.[1] In 2005, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League.[2][3] In 2005 and 2006, Doolittle was named to the USA National (Collegiate) Baseball Team.[4][5][6]

Minor-league career

Doolittle with the Kane County Cougars in 2007
Doolittle with the Kane County Cougars in 2007

The Oakland Athletics selected Doolittle in the first round, with the 41st overall selection, in the 2007 Major League Baseball draft, as a first baseman and outfielder.[7] He made his professional debut on June 18, 2007 and was expected to make his major league debut in 2009.

Despite being injured for most of the 2009 season, Doolittle was ranked tenth in Oakland's farm system according to Baseball America.[8] Doolittle missed the entire 2010 season while rehabbing from two knee surgeries. In the 2011 offseason, he was placed on Oakland's 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. After missing more than two years, Doolittle converted back to pitching,[9] making his professional pitching debut in the instructional league in Arizona in 2011.

Major-league career

Oakland Athletics

After pitching just 26 professional innings, 25 of those at three minor league stops in 2012, Doolittle was called up to the majors on June 5, 2012, against the Texas Rangers pitching one and a third inning while striking out three with all fastballs and none going below 94 mph. He quickly became a key bullpen piece as the top lefty specialist earning his first career save on July 21 against the New York Yankees. He served as a set-up man for A's closer Grant Balfour the rest of the way as Oakland went on to win the AL West on the final day of the season.

Doolittle with the Athletics in 2016
Doolittle with the Athletics in 2016

Doolittle signed a five-year, $10.5 million extension with the Athletics on April 18, 2014.[10][11]

Doolittle and righty Luke Gregerson entered the regular season as late-inning setup pitchers for new closer Jim Johnson. However, after an abysmal April, Johnson was removed from the exclusive closing role. Doolittle, Gregerson and Johnson spent the next three weeks pitching under closer by committee. Doolittle was ultimately named A's closer on May 20. Doolittle was one of six A's players named to the 2014 American League All-Star Team; he faced three batters late in the game – striking out two.

Doolittle began the 2015 season on the disabled list due to a shoulder injury.[12]

Sean Doolittle Gnome Day was April 30, 2016. The first 15,000 fans received a Doolittle Gnome which plays a brief Metallica sound, Doolittle's entry music. [13]

While on rehab assignment with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, Doolittle pitched the seventh inning of a combined no-hitter against the Omaha Storm Chasers on June 7, 2017. Starter Chris Smith pitched the first six innings and was then followed by Doolittle, Tucker Healy, and Simón Castro who each pitched one inning.[14]

Washington Nationals

On July 16, 2017, Doolittle was traded to the Washington Nationals, along with Ryan Madson, for Blake Treinen, Sheldon Neuse, and Jesús Luzardo.[15] On July 18, Doolittle recorded his first save for the Nationals in a 4–3 win over the Los Angeles Angels. In 30 games for the Nationals, he was 1–0 with a 2.40 ERA in 30 innings and was 21-for-22 in save opportunities.

For the 2018 season, he was named closer to begin the season and up until July 11, he was 22-for-23 in save opportunities before falling to the disabled list with a left toe inflammation.[16] He was activated off the disabled list on September 7.[17]

In 2018, he was 3–3 with 25 saves (7th in the NL) and a 1.60 ERA, as in 43 relief appearances he pitched 45 innings and struck out 60 batters (12.0 per 9 innings).[18] Doolittle was also named to the 2018 National League All-Star team, but he did not pitch in the actual game. He threw a four-seam fastball 88.8% of the time, tops in MLB.[19]

In 2019, he was 6–5 with 29 saves (6th in the NL) and a 4.05 ERA, as in 63 relief appearances he pitched 60 innings and struck out 66 batters. He led the NL in games finished (55), powering his Nationals to a World Series appearance and a save in Game 1. In 10+13 innings during the postseason, he gave up only two runs and six hits while striking out eight.[18][20]

In 2020, Doolittle was plagued by injuries in a season that included two separate stints on the injured list. On August 13, he was placed on the injured list with right knee fatigue after his first five appearances. Shortly after being reinstated, he suffered an oblique strain on September 10 against the Atlanta Braves.[21] That was his final game of 2020 and he ended the season with an 0–2 record and 5.87 ERA across 7+23 innings in 11 relief appearances. [22] He became a free agent after the season.

Cincinnati Reds

On February 8, 2021, Doolittle signed a one-year, $1.5MM contract with the Cincinnati Reds.[23] Doolittle appeared in 45 games for the Reds in 2021, posting a 4.46 ERA with 41 strikeouts. On August 24, 2021, Doolittle was designated for assignment by the Reds.[24]

Seattle Mariners

On August 26, 2021, the Seattle Mariners claimed Doolittle off of waivers.[25] In 11 games with the Mariners, Doolittle pitched 11.1 innings and posted a 4.76 ERA with 12 strikeouts.[26] Doolittle became a free agent upon the conclusion of the season.[27]

Washington Nationals (second stint)

On March 16, 2022, Doolittle signed a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals.[28] He was placed on the injured list on April 20, and scheduled to undergo elbow surgery in July, which ended his season.[29]

Philanthropy

Doolittle (left) with Sully at Naval Support Activity Bethesda in 2019
Doolittle (left) with Sully at Naval Support Activity Bethesda in 2019

Doolittle is active off the field with a number of charities and he was recognized for his work in 2016 by being nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award.[30] Doolittle supports Operation Finally Home, a nonprofit dedicated to providing housing for U.S. military veterans and their families,[31] and Swords to Ploughshares, a Bay Area organization devoted to helping veterans with housing and employment.[32] In recognition of his work with U.S. military veterans, he was the Major League Baseball Player recipient of the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award in 2018.[33] In June 2015, when the Oakland Athletics Pride Night received backlash from some fans for the team's support of LGBT rights, Doolittle and then-girlfriend Eireann Dolan bought hundreds of game tickets, which they donated to local LGBT groups, and raised an additional $40,000 in donations.[31] Doolittle is an ally and LGBT rights activist.[34]

In November 2015, Doolittle and Dolan hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in Chicago for 17 Syrian refugee families.[35] In October 2016, he was one of several professional athletes to denounce Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's comments about non-consensual groping of women as not being "locker room talk."[36] Doolittle identifies as independent politically.[32] In 2019, the Washington Post reported that, because of several actions by the president, he was not going to attend a ceremony at the White House following his team winning the World Series.[37]

Of his charity work, Doolittle told The New York Times: "When I was a kid, I remember my parents would say, 'Baseball is what you do, but that's not who you are' — like that might be my job, but that's not the end-all, be-all. I feel like I might even be able to use it to help other people or open some doors or explore more opportunities."[31]

Personal life

Doolittle and Eireann Dolan married on October 2, 2017, eloping the day after the Washington Nationals' last game of the regular season.[38]

While on the road for away games, Doolittle has made it a practice to seek out independent bookstores, and then share his visits on Twitter. Doolittle, an avid reader, particularly of science fiction and fantasy, commented to The Wall Street Journal "I want to support these places that are active in their communities, that are trying to be supportive and inclusive spaces for their communities."[39] In an interview with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Doolittle stated that one of his favorite authors is Octavia E. Butler and in particularly he is a fan of Parable of the Sower.[40]

Doolittle is also a dues-paying member of the Democratic Socialists of America, and has been outspoken about workers' rights throughout baseball.[41]

Sean's brother, Ryan Doolittle, was also a part of the Athletics' farm system at the same time as he was.[42]

Awards

References

  1. ^ Winston, Lisa (March 27, 2009). "Batting Around with Sean Doolittle: Former pitcher backs up A's decision to have him focus on hitting". mlb.com. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  2. ^ "Major League Baseball Players From the Cape Cod League" (PDF). capecodbaseball.org. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  3. ^ "2005 Harwich Mariners". thebaseballcube.com. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  4. ^ "USA Baseball National Team Moves to 10–0 with Two Wins". USA Baseball.com. July 15, 2006. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  5. ^ "Five SEC Players Make USA Baseball National Team". SECsports.com. July 2, 2005. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  6. ^ Kimmey, Will (August 8, 2005). "Summer Stock: Doolittle Does A Lot". Baseball America. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  7. ^ Katherine, Anna. "Against the Odds—VIRGINIA Magazine". Uvamagazine.org. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  8. ^ Shonerd, Jim (January 19, 2010). "Top 10 Prospects: Oakland Athletics". Baseball America. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  9. ^ Lockard, Melissa (October 17, 2011). "A's Doolittle Thrilled With Change In Path". Scout.com. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  10. ^ "A's lefty reliever Doolittle gets 5-year deal". ESPN.com. Associated Press. April 18, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  11. ^ Blum, Ronald (April 21, 2014). "Doolittle's 5-year contract with A's worth $10.5M". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  12. ^ Kawahara, Matt (May 16, 2015). "A's unable to capitalize on closer Tyler Clippard's success". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
  13. ^ "Yahoo Sports MLB". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  14. ^ "Sounds No-Hit Storm Chasers". Minor League Baseball. June 7, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  15. ^ "Nats acquire Doolittle, Madson from A's". MLB.com. July 16, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  16. ^ Calcaterra, Craig (July 11, 2018). "Nationals closer Sean Doolittle placed on disabled list – HardballTalk". Mlb.nbcsports.com. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  17. ^ "Nationals activate All-Star Doolittle from DL". ESPN.com. September 7, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Sean Doolittle Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  19. ^ "Statcast Pitch Arsenals Leaderboard | baseballsavant.com". Baseballsavant.mlb.com. Retrieved November 2, 2019.
  20. ^ "Washington Nationals win 2019 World Series". MLB. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  21. ^ Niland, Marty (September 10, 2020). "Washington Nationals' Sean Doolittle hurt – Oblique injury according to Davey Martinez..." federalbaseball.com. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  22. ^ "Sean Doolittle – Stats – Pitching". fangraphs.com. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  23. ^ "Reds add veteran left-hander Doolittle to bullpen". ESPN.com. February 8, 2021.
  24. ^ Anthony Franco. "Reds Activate Tejay Antone, Designate Sean Doolittle For Assignment". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  25. ^ Anthony Franco. "Mariners Claim Sean Doolittle Off Waivers From Reds". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  26. ^ "Sean Doolittle Stats". Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  27. ^ "2021-22 free agents, position by position". Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  28. ^ "Washington Nationals agree to terms with Sean Doolittle". March 16, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  29. ^ "Washington Nationals' Sean Doolittle set for elbow surgery; season over". ESPN.com. Associated Press. July 15, 2022. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  30. ^ "Sean Doolittle nominated for Clemente Award". Major League Baseball. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  31. ^ a b c Kepner, Tyler (March 12, 2016). "Off the Mound, Sean Doolittle Brings Relief to the Ostracized". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  32. ^ a b DiGiovanna, Mike (February 20, 2017). "Whether on the mound or for refugees in need, relief is a calling for the A's' Sean Doolittle". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  33. ^ "Honored with Act of Valor award, Doolittle presses sports leagues to do more for veterans". wtopnews.
  34. ^ Majoros, Kevin (June 20, 2019). "Ally and baseball pro Sean Doolittle wears Pride on his cleats". Washington Blade. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  35. ^ "A's Pitcher, Girlfriend Host Syrian Refugees for Thanksgiving". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  36. ^ "Sean Doolittle among athletes saying they don't talk like Trump in locker room". SFGate. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  37. ^ Sean Doolittle – declining White House invite: I don't want to hang out with somebody who talks like that, The Washington Post, November 1, 2019
  38. ^ Dunn, Mina (October 3, 2017). "SEAN DOOLITTLE AND EIREANN DOLAN ELOPE, EVERYTHING IS GOOD". The Nats Blog. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  39. ^ Diamond, Jared (May 23, 2019). "The All-Star Closer Who Is Trying to Save Bookstores". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  40. ^ Live! at the Library: A Conversation with Sean Doolittle, retrieved July 1, 2022
  41. ^ Silverman, Robert (April 11, 2020). "Leftist Star Pitcher Sean Doolittle and Wife Speak Out on MLB's Reopening Proposal". The Daily Beast. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  42. ^ Caple, Jim (April 6, 2016). "Is A's reliever Sean Doolittle the most interesting man in baseball?". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  43. ^ "AFL announces Top Prospects Team". MLB.com. December 4, 2008. Retrieved April 19, 2014.