There’s a fixation in sports media and society at large to focus on the negative. When you’re watching the nightly news, they’ll never lead with how a crossing guard helped hundreds of kids not get hit by a car. It’ll be about the accident up the street. And you can bet they’ll run the tape of something dumb a politician said because there’s plenty of it. We call out plenty of degenerates on this site and have a slideshow entitled Idiot of the Month. Sometimes, it’s the right move to put that all aside and bring a spotlight to the good going on in the world, and not because we have a quota, we don’t. It’s the right thing to do. Ladies and gentlemen: Sean Doolittle.
Doolittle announced his retirement from baseball after 11 years spent mainly with the Oakland A’s and Washington Nationals, winning a ring with the latter. The lefty reliever was a two-time All-Star who notched 112 saves, and nailed down Game 1 of the 2019 World Series, but hasn’t pitched in the majors since last April. (He spent this season in the minors.)
Most of all for this story, Doolittle is just a good dude. The philanthropy section on his Wikipedia page is nearly as long as the highlights from Doolittle’s playing career. He never got in trouble with the league and he never had a publicized dispute with a teammate. Doolittle actually made a point to read after every game and go to bookstores around the country instead of going to bars and drinking.
The 36-year-old Doolittle isn’t a Hall of Famer — he was only good for 9.9 WAR — and probably will never make it onto the ballot. And that’s alright. Instead, the New Jersey native spoke out about important social issues including worker’s rights in baseball. Doolittle correctly called out former President Donald Trump, denouncing the then-candidate’s excuse for bragging about non-consensual groping of women as “locker room talk.” No, you orange racist. It’s sexual harassment and assault. Not what men in locker rooms do. Doolittle is also a proud supporter of LGBTQ+ causes and was a 2016 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which is given to the player that “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement, and the individual’s contribution to his team,” per MLB.
If all of those great things don’t sound like the contributions of a usual professional athlete, you’d be right. Doolittle is a unique individual who never let becoming the best pitcher in the world consume him despite being incredibly talented. He’s walking away from baseball still with his health intact and with plenty of great things he did on and off the mound. That’s a win in my book.