“In six seasons in Oakland I formed a bond with A’s fans that meant the world to me. … I know things have been difficult lately for A’s fans, but I’m with you. Stay strong.”
After more than a decade pitching in the majors, Sean Doolittle, the wildly popular former Oakland A’s reliever, has announced his retirement from baseball.
Doolittle was a member of the A’s from 2012 to 2017, before being traded to the Washington Nationals. In 2019, he contributed to the Nationals’ World Series victory.
Doolittle announced his decision in a lengthy social media post on Friday. He’ll hold a press conference later today before the Nationals play the Atlanta Braves.
Doolittle thanked the A’s organization for giving his career a second chance in his post. Doolittle was drafted as a first baseman in 2008 and hit 22 home runs that year, but his career appeared to be over due to injuries until the organization suggested he switch to pitching before the 2011 season. He made his debut with the A’s a year later and quickly won over the fan base.
Doolittle emphasized his close relationship with A’s fans, writing, “in six seasons in Oakland, I formed a bond with A’s fans that meant the world to me.”
Doolittle, whose entrance music was Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” was an All-Star in 2014, when he saved 22 games. During the 2017 season, he was traded to the Nationals in a deadline deal with Ryan Madson for Jes Luzardo, Sheldon Neuse, and Blake Treinen.
“Thank you for bringing the energy and head banging to East Bay thrash metal with me,” he went on to say. “It was an honor to wear the green and gold in Oakland as a kid who fell in love with baseball watching A’s games at the Coliseum.” I know things have been difficult for A’s fans recently, but I sympathize. “Remain strong.”
The left-handed reliever spent the majority of his career with the A’s and Washington, where he earned his second All-Star selection in 2018. He also thanked the Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners for giving him a better chance of landing on the Immaculate Grid during his brief time with them.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the team knew it was getting a great reliever and person when it traded for Doolittle in 2017, and he was right.
“As a World Champion, All-Star, and leader in the clubhouse, Sean set an example of what it means to be a pillar of the community,” Rizzo said in a statement. “He was as fierce as they come on the mound, and he took the ball whenever he was called upon.”
Doolittle has appeared in 463 games for the A’s since making his debut in 2012.
Doolittle was limited to six appearances with the Nationals in 2022 and 11 in the minors this season due to elbow surgery and a knee injury. He stated that the World Series will always be the highlight of his career and that he and his wife, Eireann, call Washington home.
“He was not only a fierce competitor, but he is one of the finest people you’ll ever meet,” Nationals owner Mark Lerner said. “Sean and his wife, Eireann, are excellent examples of people who have used their platform and position in life to advocate for others, and I have no doubt that their impact will last far beyond Sean’s playing career.”