The Fourth of July is a day Americans celebrate their freedom, but for Sean Doolittle it’s also a day to recognize those who gave people that freedom.
Doolittle, a reliever with the A’s, is the seventh cousin of General Jimmy Doolittle, an aviation pioneer. He is credited with calculating that the 16 B-25 Army Air Force Mitchell bombers could be launched using “short-field takeoffs” – less than 500 feet of a runway on an aircraft carrier.
His father, Rory, is retired from the Air Force and now teaches high school Reserve Officer Training Corps in New Jersey. Rory Doolittle won a bronze star for his refueling squadron’s performance during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002.
Doolittle’s stepmom, April, is active duty Air National Guard stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Air Force Base in New Jersey.
Doolittle had thoughts of joining the military while at Shawnee High School until his professional baseball career took precedent. Doolittle still uses his position as a professional baseball player to support many military initiatives.
“When I was a kid, I remember my parents would say, ‘baseball is what you do, but that’s not who you are,’” Doolittle told to the New York Times.
Doolittle is a strong supporter of Operation Finally Home, which builds custom, mortgage-free houses for wounded veterans and their families. He and his girlfriend, Eireann Dolan, began donating Christmas gifts to several families who had received homes from Operation Finally Home, as a way to make their first holiday special. They continue their donations each year.
In 2014, Doolittle and Dolan asked A’s fans and their local community for help furnish homes that were being built for retired Army Spc. Derrick Winchell and retired Coast Guard Petty Officer Second Class Michael Hard. They set up a gift registry online, and Doolittle gave away A’s memorabilia to those who donated to the registry. Doolittle helped Operation Finally Home fully furnish both homes, even stocking cabinets and linen closets.
The couples’ support for Operation Finally Home is not slowing down. This season, Doolittle and Dolan plan to invite a group of Operation Finally Home recipients living in Houston to an A’s away game in the area.
Major Leaguers are #GoingToBat for causes near and dear to them, as they personify the Players Trust’s motto to ‘care, act and inspire.’ To learn more about the charitable interests and activities of Sean Doolittle and other Major Leaguers, please click here.