Bassitt's high school in Clay, Ohio had an enrollment of less than 600.
"I understand why no one recruited me," Chris said in 2013. "I came from a small high school. I didn’t go to any of the camps, which was a big mistake. I didn’t put my name out there. I didn’t do the work.
“I wasn’t able to be seen, so it was a fluke. I threw well against one of the schools in Ohio, and that’s how I got to my college. But I don’t have any grudges against any college that didn’t recruit me.”
Bassitt went to the University of Akron. In 2011, he posted a 1.42 ERA and averaged 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings. He was then chosen by the White Sox in the 16th round, and signed.
"I took (getting picked in the 16th round) as more of an honor,” Bassitt said. “I didn’t care about the money or the round I was picked. It was just an honor of getting the opportunity of what I wanted to do. It again was proving to myself what I was.”
In 2014, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Bassitt as the 15th-best propect in the White Sox organization.
May 21, 2019: Chris started a game in Detroit with a group of about 70 friends and family members from his nearby hometown of Toledo, Ohio, cheering him on from a lower-level section near home plate at Comerica Park. It was special for him, but that was nothing compared to the butterflies he felt before he pitched 3 2/3 innings in a 5-3 Oakland win at Progressive Field.
Bassitt grew up a die-hard Cleveland sports fan. And the Indians of the 1990s and early 2000s held a special place in his heart.
“I came to some games here,” Bassitt said. “It was easy to root for the Indians in the '90s, with Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome, CC [Sabathia], Cliff Lee, Manny [Ramirez]. Top to bottom, they had an 8-10-year run that was unreal to watch. I grew up loving this team, so it’s fun.
“Pitching here is surreal because, growing up, that’s all I watched. Everyone watched the Braves or Yankees because they were always on TV, but whenever the Indians were on, I was always watching them.”
To go from loving a team to trying to beat that team in its own stadium is a weird feeling, but Bassitt has actually done it once before. In his first start at Progressive Field, on July 11, 2015, he got a no-decision in the A’s 5-4 win over the Indians, allowing just two runs on seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.
The first time is always a little more special, but Bassitt doesn’t expect his second start in Cleveland, or any other start there after this, to diminish the feeling he gets when he takes the mound at the ballpark of his childhood.
“This place will always hold a special place in my heart,” Bassitt said. “I feel like the team you grew up watching will always be special to you, and if you don’t play for them, playing against them is still pretty fun.”
The group of supporters won’t be as large as the one that came out to watch Bassitt hold the Tigers scoreless over a career-high eight innings last week, but given the many friends he made in his time at nearby University of Akron, he expects another large round of cheers as he takes the mound for Oakland.
“I’ll definitely have a good amount here,” Bassitt said. “For the amount of family that won’t be coming, I’ll have a lot of friends coming. It’s still pretty close to home.” (M Gallegos - MLB.com - May 21, 2019)
September 4, 2019: Chris was away from the team to be with his wife, Jessica, who gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Landry Jayne. Bassitt will be given a few days of extra rest before returning to start September 7, 2019, against the Tigers. “He’ll be on his way back tomorrow,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Bassitt. “We’ll give him a day to acclimate and push him back.” (Gallegos - mlb.com)
A's biggest trash talker: A mini-basketball hoop sits atop Sean Manaea’s locker inside the A’s clubhouse. The pregame hoops sessions are usually pretty lively regardless, but things tend to turn up a notch whenever Bassitt is around, as he often challenges fellow teammates to shooting contests. That's when the trash talking comes out, with Bassitt constantly razzing opponents as a tactic to throw off their concentration. (MLB.com - Apr. 29, 2020)
June 2011: The White Sox drafted Bassitt in the 16th round, out of the University of Akron in Ohio.
December 9, 2014: The A's sent Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox; acquiring infielder Marcus Semien, Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley, and first baseman Rangel Ravelo.
- Jan 10, 2020: Chris and the A's avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal for $2.25 million.