OAKLAND -- Most professional baseball players don't have a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Most players didn't get that degree they don't have from Yale. Most players aren't as interested in medicine as they are in baseball. Craig Breslow isn't most players. The A's southpaw toured the Research Institute at Children's Hospital and Research Center Oakland on Tuesday, where he visited with Dr. Bert Lubin, senior vice president of medical research, and Dr. Julie Saba, senior scientist.
Saba gave Breslow a personal tour of her lab, which investigates pediatric cancer. "It was a lot of fun," Breslow said. "I hadn't been back in a lab since college. It brought back some memories." Breslow became interested in medicine at an early age. That interest grew when his older sister, Lesley, was diagnosed with pediatric thyroid cancer. She's been in remission for 15 years. "I don't think any player on our team would turn down an opportunity like this," Breslow said. "I'm in a unique position, though, with my academic research, then the personal connection with my sister. It was a privilege." Breslow started the Strike 3 Foundation in 2008 in Lesley's honor with hopes of finding a cure for childhood cancer. "The mission of our foundation is to raise awareness for research," Breslow said. "If you can eliminate the illness, you don't need to raise funds for more research." Hudson Davis, a 13-year-old oncology patient at Children's Hospital Oakland, threw out the first pitch as Breslow's guest. Davis was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2008. He didn't let that stop him from playing baseball, though. Davis pitched through chemotherapy and radiation, making his league's All-Star team. "This is a big thrill for him, first as a player and second for everything he's been through," said Greg Davis, Hudson's father. "Baseball definitely helped him get through it. It really is his passion to go out there and pitch." Did Hudson plan on showing off his stuff when he took the mound at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum? "Oh, absolutely," Greg Davis said. "He'll really try to bring it." He did, going through his full windup and hitting Breslow with a fastball.
Adam Loberstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.