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)
July 10, 2021: In his seventh season in the Majors, Chris Bassitt has made his first All-Star Game. He was chosen as a replacement for the All-Star Game.
Bassitt has been steadily productive since reaching the Majors with the White Sox in 2014, posting a career 3.55 ERA -- and only one season with an ERA above 4.00. From 2016-18, he threw only 75 2/3 innings, with a Tommy John surgery wedged in the middle of it. But since then, he's emerged as one of Oakland’s best arms, and now he’s receiving leaguewide recognition for it.
“A lot’s been documented on where he’s come from in his career to where he is now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He was pretty emotional after his first shutout, leading the way as a starter the last year and a half. This kind of culminates all that hard work and perseverance. (J Horrobin - MLB.com - July 10, 2021)
Aug 28, 2021: During a stretch in which the A’s have struggled to find many positives, they had a big reason to smile. Oakland's All-Star ace Chris Bassitt returned to the Coliseum before the game against the Yankees, marking his first time back since undergoing facial surgery in Chicago to repair fractured bones caused by a line drive that hit him in the face on Aug. 17.
As expected, Bassitt’s appearance was a little different than normal. Just a few days removed from the surgery, his right eye still had some redness from the impact and was mostly swollen shut. Based on the fact that there were no issues with his brain or eyesight from the incident, though, Bassitt said he considers himself fortunate.
“All things considered, I somewhat dodged a bullet,” Bassitt said. “The prognosis going forward is looking great. I’m excited to be as lucky as I was.”
Bassitt has a hard time recalling getting hit by the line drive, mainly because he doesn’t remember it. In his mind, that’s a good thing. He also hasn’t watched a replay of it, and he does not plan to ever do so.
“I don’t remember getting hit and I don’t remember throwing the pitch,” Bassitt said. “But I remember everything else. There’s probably a five-second spot in there that I don’t remember anything, and, honestly, I think it’s a gift from God. I don’t want to remember it.
“I don’t really have any concern about getting back on a mound. I don’t have a fear or something in my head telling me this is about to happen, because I haven’t really lived it. I don’t remember it. I’m glad that kind of worked out the way it did.”
Of course, Bassitt getting back on the mound is secondary for the A’s at this point. They’re just happy to see him around the team again. With Oakland scuffling through a six-game losing streak, seeing one of the club's leaders in good spirits is certainly a lift. It also goes the other way, with Bassitt feeling an emotional lift from seeing his teammates again.
“I’m coming to the field and want to be here for them,” Bassitt said. “But I also need to be here for me, so I don’t really think about this stuff. I’m glad they got a boost when I came, but I got a boost, too. Sitting in a hotel room for a week isn’t the best.”
For Bassitt, the focus right now is just getting back to living a normal, everyday life. Simple things such as being able to eat solid foods now become big victories, something he was only able to return to a couple of days ago.
With just over a month left in the regular season, there might not be enough time for Bassitt to make another start. A’s manager Bob Melvin mentioned a possible relief role for the right-hander around the final week of the season, but he admitted, “We’re getting ahead of ourselves when we sit here and try to put together a schedule or forecast of when he’ll be back this year.” If Bassitt has his way, though, he’ll be back on that mound for at least one final appearance to help the A’s playoff push in any way he can.
“The doctors made a mistake in telling me I’m gonna be OK in a couple of weeks,” Bassitt said. “When they said that, I said, 'All right, we’re rocking.' Obviously, the team is going to do everything to take care of me. If everything progresses the way it should, I want to be back before the end of the season. Hopefully, I am.” (M Gallegos - MLB.com - Aug 28, 2021)
Sept. 23, 2021: Bassitt pitched three scoreless innings less than a month after surgery to repair facial fractures.
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.
- Jan 15, 2021: Bassitt and the A's avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal worth $4.9 million.