Pitcher turned Physician
Pitcher Steve Bast climbed as high as Triple A baseball in the early
1990s. No one probably ever heard of him again since those days in
Pawtucket, until Monika Guttman featured him in an article. Ms Guttman
is a former contributing writer to HSC Weekly, USC Trojan Family, Norris
Cancer Center Report and USC Health at the University of Southern
California. She recently wrote about Bast in an article Alumnus and
former Red Sox pitcher returns to USC as a physician.
As a professional pitcher, the southpaw faced the likes of Deion Sanders
and Bo Jackson in the minor leagues. But he never dreamt of striking
them out. By his own admission, baseball was a stepping-stone to setting
bones, not setting records.
Bast signed with the Red Sox in 1986 after three years at USC. After
five years in the Boston organization, he applied for and was accepted
in to the USC medical school program. Playing minor league ball was no
longer glamorous, especially with a wife and young son. His last year of
professional ball was also his first year of medical school at the
University of Southern California. After juggling the two careers for
one year, he finally decided that there was more to life than playing
Bast is now a resident student in orthopedics at USC. His first article,
"Upper Extremity Blood Flow in Collegiate and High School Baseball
Pitchers was published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.
Despite a totally different kind of career, Bast has been able to draw
similarities between sports and medicine.
"On a team, you're only as good as the people who surround you in the
outfield and the infield, " he said in Ms. Guttmans article. "In
medicine, you're only as good as the people who assist you, as good as
your patient compliance, as good as your mentors and teachers."
According to Bast, the camaraderie in the medical profession is similar
to sports teams and athletes. Like sports, medicine prepared Bast for
life. It taught him how to accept disappointment and mistakes, along
with victory and defeat.
After three years of medical school, Bast was still debating between
majoring in pediatric orthopedics and sports medicine. "I really enjoy
working with kids," he said in Ms. Guttmans article. Orthopedics
appealed to him not because it was so tied in to sports but because "I'm
a kind of a hands-on personality. I rebuilt my own car, I work in the
yard. It's a field where your patients are usually pretty healthy, and
there's not a lot of morbidity."
When it comes to baseball, Bast has not lost any of his senses. The
smell of popcorn and the baseball field are still fresh in his mind. He
still sees enthusiasm in the eyes of kids, especially when they are
looking at a major league field or stadium. Steve Bast no longer clings
to the dream of reaching the major leagues. But he is perceptive to see
that same dream in todays youth.
1986 USC Steve Sicard Award
Orthopaedic Biometrics Laboratory
Our Towns; Where Dreams Of Glory Days Are Nurtured "McInnis, an
outfielder from Framingham, Mass., and Steve Bast, a pitcher from
Upland, Calif., are living with the Kirschners, benefiting from Mrs.
Kirschner's mother-away-from-home attention."