Washington Nationals’ Relief Pitcher Sean Doolittle

5th July 2019

Pitcher Sean Doolittle is the closer for the Washington Nationals, and no, it’s not The Closer you’re thinking about. Sean’s been called one of the most interesting players in baseball. He’ll talk about his unorthodox path to the major leagues, starting out as a first baseman, recovering from serious injuries and then pivoting to closing out games on the mound. Sean’s also known as one of the nicest guys in MLB. He’s used his platform as a baseball player to raise awareness about a number of issues: He’s worked with veteran groups, spoken out publicly for LGBT rights, and hosted a Thanksgiving dinner with Syrian refugees. This interview was recorded in 2017, back when Sean was at spring training with the Oakland A’s.

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Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images
Washington Nationals’ relief pitcher Sean Doolittle
Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle might be one of the most interesting players in baseball.

Sean had an improbable journey to the majors. He was originally drafted as a hitter in 2007 before being sidelined by knee injuries. He didn’t play for two years as a result. When Sean joined us in 2017, he talked to Jesse about the physical and mental obstacles he faced during recovery. At one point, he thought about giving up and going back to college to earn his degree.

Eventually, Sean was encouraged to try his hand at pitching instead. As it turns out, he had an excellent arm and could throw in the mid-to-high-90s. He played with the A’s, and was selected as an All-Star in 2014. It’s been a pretty good career for a guy that wasn’t even supposed to be a pitcher.

Sean’s known as one of the nicest guys in the majors. He’s used his platform as a baseball player to raise awareness about a number of causes. He’s worked with veteran groups, spoken out publicly for LGBT rights and hosted a Thanksgiving dinner with Syrian refugees.

You can find out what Sean’s up to on Twitter.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

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  • Sean Doolittle

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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

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