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.
Doolittle with the Washington Nationals in 2019
|Washington Nationals – No. 63|
|Born: September 26, 1986|
Rapid City, South Dakota
|June 5, 2012, for the Oakland Athletics|
|MLB statistics |
(through September 8, 2020)
|Earned run average||3.07|
|Career highlights and awards|
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. In 2005, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League. In 2005 and 2006, Doolittle was named to the USA National (Collegiate) Baseball Team.
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. 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. 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, making his professional pitching debut in the instructional league in Arizona in 2011.
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 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.
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. 
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.
On July 16, 2017, Doolittle was traded to the Washington Nationals, along with Ryan Madson, for Blake Treinen, Sheldon Neuse, and Jesus Luzardo. 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 30.0 innings and was 21/22 in save opportunities.
For the 2018 season, he was named closer to begin the season and up until July 11, he was 22/23 in save opportunities before falling to the disabled list with a left toe inflammation. He was activated off the disabled list on September 7.
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 45.0 innings and struck out 60 batters (12.0 per 9 innings). He threw a four-seam fastball 88.8% of the time, tops in MLB.
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 60.0 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 and a third innings during the postseason, he gave up only two runs and six hits while striking out eight.
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. Doolittle supports Operation Finally Home, a nonprofit dedicated to providing housing for U.S. military veterans and their families, and Swords to Ploughshares, a Bay Area organization devoted to helping veterans with housing and employment. 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. Doolittle is an ally and LGBT rights activist.
In November 2015, Doolittle and Dolan hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in Chicago for 17 Syrian refugee families. 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." Doolittle identifies as independent politically. 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.
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."
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."
Sean's brother, Ryan Doolittle, was also a part of the Athletics' farm system at the same time as he was.
- 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.
- "Major League Baseball Players From the Cape Cod League" (PDF). capecodbaseball.org. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- "USA Baseball National Team Moves to 10–0 with Two Wins". USA Baseball.com. July 15, 2006. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
- "Five SEC Players Make USA Baseball National Team". SECsports.com. July 2, 2005. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- Kimmey, Will (August 8, 2005). "Summer Stock: Doolittle Does A Lot". Baseball America. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
- Shonerd, Jim (January 19, 2010). "Top 10 Prospects: Oakland Athletics". Baseball America. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- Lockard, Melissa (October 17, 2011). "A's Doolittle Thrilled With Change In Path". Scout.com. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- "A's lefty reliever Doolittle gets 5-year deal". ESPN.com. Associated Press. April 18, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- Blum, Ronald (April 21, 2014). "Doolittle's 5-year contract with A's worth $10.5M". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
- Kawahara, Matt (May 16, 2015). "A's unable to capitalize on closer Tyler Clippard's success". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
- "Yahoo Sports MLB". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- "Sounds No-Hit Storm Chasers". Minor League Baseball. June 7, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
- "Nats acquire Doolittle, Madson from A's". MLB.com. July 16, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
- Calcaterra, Craig (2018-07-11). "Nationals closer Sean Doolittle placed on disabled list – HardballTalk". Mlb.nbcsports.com. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- Sean Doolittle of the Washington Nationals activated off DL
- "Sean Doolittle Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- "Statcast Pitch Arsenals Leaderboard | baseballsavant.com". Baseballsavant.mlb.com. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- "Sean Doolittle Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- "Washington Nationals win 2019 World Series". MLB. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
- "Sean Doolittle nominated for Clemente Award". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
- Kepner, Tyler (2016-03-12). "Off the Mound, Sean Doolittle Brings Relief to the Ostracized". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
- DiGiovanna, Mike (2017-02-20). "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 2017-03-13.
- Majoros, Kevin (2019-06-20). "Ally and baseball pro Sean Doolittle wears Pride on his cleats". Washington Blade. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
- "A's Pitcher, Girlfriend Host Syrian Refugees for Thanksgiving". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
- "Sean Doolittle among athletes saying they don't talk like Trump in locker room". SFGate. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
- 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
- Dunn, Mina (October 3, 2017). "SEAN DOOLITTLE AND EIREANN DOLAN ELOPE, EVERYTHING IS GOOD". The Nats Blog. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
- Diamond, Jared (May 23, 2019). "The All-Star Closer Who Is Trying to Save Bookstores". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
- 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.
- Caple, Jim (April 6, 2016). "Is A's reliever Sean Doolittle the most interesting man in baseball?". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
- "AFL announces Top Prospects Team". MLB.com. December 4, 2008. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
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