30 Teams. 30 Posts: The Oakland A’s.
In my newest installment of “30 Teams. 30 posts” I cover a team that means a lot to me, The Oakland Athletics. Waaaay back in 1987 when I was just a little kid, I moved to Medford, Oregon and it was shortly after this that I fell in love with the game of Baseball. The A’s quickly became a team I latched on to due to the fact that one of their Minor League affiliates (the Medford A’s) played in my hometown. It made sense to follow the team and I quickly dubbed them “My 2nd favorite team.” The following year the A’s won their first of 3 consecutive American League Pennants much to my delight.
This was a great time to be a fan of the A’s and while they only won the World Series once during that stretch of years, it’s still a time that I think of fondly. This is due to Oakland’s success during my early years of being a fan of the team and the game itself. The A’s still continue to be my favorite team behind my beloved San Diego Padres so I guess you can say I’m a sucker for small market West Coast teams.
While the A’s haven’t come close to that level of success they attained from ’88-’90, I still consider them an important and relevant team in Baseball. Any organization that has been around since 1901 must be considered Baseball royalty, even if they don’t have a $100+ million payroll or play on the East Coast. The A’s legacy runs deep and can not be ignored: Connie Mack, the ’72-’74 dynasty, the antics of Charlie Finley, the legacies of Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Dennis Eckersley, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, etc, or even the recognition provided by “Moneyball.” The Athletics organization offers much to appreciate and admire regardless if the team plays for Philadelphia, Kansas City, Oakland…or even San Jose (eeek!).
I can ramble with other reasons that I love like the A’s but I will stop now. As always with my 30 Teams. 30 posts, here are some team specific photos that I enjoy and would like to share:
1962. A very young Tony LaRussa of the Kansas City Athletics converses with Chicago White Sox Manager and Hall of Famer Al Lopez. Most people associate Tony LaRussa as the long time Manager of both the A’s and Cardinals, however he was originally signed as a player by the A’s and played in their farm system from 1962 to 1971 with various call-ups to the big leagues.
A great photo of the Philadelphia A’s from the 1911 World Series. The short looking fella on the right side of the photo is Louis Vanzelet, who was the A’s “mascot” in 1910 and 1911. He very well could have been the mascot for longer but those are the only years I have found his name associated with the A’s or found him in photos.
The A’s beat the Giants 4 games to 2 during the 1911 World Series. Both teams have met in the Fall Classic 4 times (1905, 1911, 1913 and 1989) with the A’s beating the Giants every year but the 1905 series.
Charlie Finley stands proudly with the 1972, 1973, and 1974 World Series trophies. I wish I was alive during the early 70′ to witness those incredible Oakland teams.
July 31st, 2011. Jemile Weeks steals 3rd base in a game against the Twins. Weeks is one of my favorite players currently on the A’s and in my opinion a player worth attempting to build a new, young team around. Only time will tell if this happens as the Athletics franchise have many unanswered questions regarding their future which must be answered more soon than later.
Dave Stewart is without a doubt one of my favorite Pitchers of all-time. From 1986 to 1992 this Oakland born native took control of the A’s rotation as one of the most dependable and durable pitchers in the game. During this time he placed in the top 4 in Cy Young voting 4 years in a row and was an All-Star in 1989. This is in addition to tossing a No-Hitter in 1990 against the Blue Jays. He wrapped up his career by returning to the A’s in 1995.
October 27th, 1989. Jose Canseco is “bashed” by A’s teammates Carney Lansford and Rickey Henderson after his 3-run homerun off Giants Pitcher Kelly Downs in Game 3 of the World Series.
Game 3 was the first World Series game back after the Loma Prieta earthquake struck 10 days earlier. To this day, I still remember attempting to watch the initially scheduled third game on October 17th and being confused to why it was not on TV before realizing what had happened. I lived 3 hours North of San Francisco at that time and the earthquake could not be felt.