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Updates

(Oakland Athletics)

(Oakland Athletics)

2020 Season

Season Preview: Will the A’s sneak past the Astros and win the AL West in 2020? If they do, it will be one of the big stories in baseball. Oakland has a group of returning stars that includes Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Khris Davis, and Ramon Laureano. The pitching is solid, with quality starters and a deep bullpen. Closer Liam Hendricks will look to repeat his All-Star season from 2019.

2019 Season

Season Reap: The A’s powered their way into a Wild Card spot thanks to Matt Olson, Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman, Mark Canha, Ramon Laureano, Khris Davis, and Jurickson Profar—each of whom hit 20 or more home runs. Veteran starters Mike Fiers and Brett Anderson led the pitching staff, along with reliever Liam Hendriks, who saved 25 games. The A’s faced the Rays in the Wild Card Game 5–1.

May 7, 2019: Mike Fiers pitched the 300th no-hitter in big league history. It was the second of his career.

Season Preview: The A’s catch the ball and hit the ball, and when the pitching is right they can be tough to beat. Outfielder Khris Davis and infielders Matt Chapman and Matt Olson are Oakland’s main power source. The starting pitching runs hot and cold, but if the bullpen is sensational again in 2019, the A’s could top 90 wins.

2018 Season

Season Recap: The A’s began the 2018 season with the lowest payroll in the league and finished with 97 wins. Injuries to the team’s starters forced Oakland to build up its bullpen, and it turned out to be the deepest bullpen in baseball. Slugger Khris Davis topped the AL with 48 homers, leading a group of young hitting stars that included Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. Jed Lowrie and Jonathan Lucroy added veteran leadership. The A’s won a spot in the Wild Card Game, but lost to the Yankees, 7–2.

April 21, 2018: Sean Manaea pitched a no-hitter against the Red Sox.

Season Preview: The A’s look like they’re ready to climb out of the AL West basement. Nine different players hit 10 or more homers, and the team hopes to add reliable pitching to a solid offense. Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton, and Kendall Graverman need to take the next step as starters, while a lockdown closer needs to emerge in a well-stocked bullpen. On the hitting side, third baseman Matt Chapman looks like a up-and-coming star and Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis are two of baseball’s most underrated hitters.

2017 Season

Season Recap: The A’s had nine players with 10 or more homers in 2017, including Khris Davis, with 43. The team’s young pitchers did not live up to their promise, however, leaving the club far off the pace in the AL West. A 16–5 streak in September gave Oakland fans something to get excited about in an otherwise disappointing season.

July 11, 2017: Yonder Alonso played in his first All-Star Game. He hit 20 homers in the first half the season to set a new personal best.

2016 Season

November 1, 2016: The Athletics finished last in the AL West, but gave fans some exciting baseball along the way. Khris Davis smashed 42 homers, and young pitchers Kendall Graveman, Jharel Cotton and Sean Manaea showed flashes of good things to come.

2015 Season

October 6, 2015: The A’s finished with the fewest wins in the AL with 68. Josh Reddick was the team’s best hitter, while Sonny Gray had another fine season, making the All-Star team and going 14–7 with a 2.73 ERA.

April 5, 2015: Oakland fans will be watching newcomers Billy Butler and Ike Davis very carefully in 2015. The two sluggers have had some poor years recently, but hope to regain their powers with the A’s. Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir will be counted on for 30 to 40 wins as the leaders of the pitching staff.

2014 Season

October 30, 2014: For much of the 2014 season, the A’s looked like the best team in baseball. However, a July trade with the Red Sox to shore up their pitching backfired. The deal cost Oakland its cleanup hitter, Yoenis Cespedes and the team fell out of first place and had to settle for a Wild Card spot. They lost that game in 12 innings to the Royals. Josh Donaldson was the best player for the A’s, who got surprising comeback seasons from pitcher Scott Kazmir and first baseman Brandon Moss.

August 1, 2014: Sonny Gray was named AL Pitcher of the Month for July. It was the second time he won this honor in 2014.

March 31, 2014: The A’s could be the team to beat in the AL West. They specialize in building winning teams out of spare parts, but this season they believe young sluggers Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes will become true stars. They’ll have to, because spring injuries to key pitchers—including Jarrod Parker—have some fans in Oakland worried.

2013 Season

December 9, 2013: Former manager Tony La Russa was elected to the Hall of Fame. His record with the A’s was 798–693. La Russa won three pennants and one World Series between 1986 and 1995.

October 1, 2013: The Athletics may have been out-spent by Anaheim and Texas in 2013, but they were not out-hit or out-pitched. Oakland won the West with a record of 96–66, and looked like a team of destiny until they ran into Justin Verlander and the Tigers in the deciding game of the ALDS. It put an end to a fun season that saw young prospects Josh Donaldson and AJ Griffin become true stars, and old-timers Bartolo Colon and Grant Balfour have amazing years.

September 16, 2013: Jarrod Parker lost to the Angels, ending his string of 19 games started without a loss. The streak, which began on May 11th, set a new team record. Parker went 9–0 during the 19 games.

June 8, 2013: Relief pitcher Grant Balfour saved his 41st game in a row. He broke the team record held by Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley.

March 30, 2013: Oakland has a lot of new faces in new places. Indeed, the team looks very different than the one that made the playoffs last season. Chris Young and Jed Lowrie lead the way, along with young superstar Yoenis Cespedes. If the A’s can get leads, their bullpen should be able to finish games and get them to 90 wins again.

2012 Season

October 12, 2012: AL West fans thought the battle for first place would come down to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Texas Rangers. But in the last week, Oakland caught fire and surged into the lead with 94 victories. They nearly beat the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series, losing 3 games to 2. One of the team’s surprising leaders in 2012 was Yoenis Cespedes, a 26-year-old outfielder who escaped from Cuba in 2011. His mother was a softball pitcher for Cuba in the 2000 Olympics!

April, 2012: In their big winter trade with the Washington Nationals, the A’s got Derek Norris. Norris is considered one of the best catching prospects in baseball. The team expects him to hit 20 homers a year once he wins the starting job in Oakland.

More Go-To Guys

This picture of Eddie Collins is called an “art stamp” and was used by fans who wanted to make baseball scrapbooks. The company made 180 different stamps in 1911. (Helmar)

A young fan wrote Bob Johnson’s name on this card a good 20 years before I was born. I wonder where that person is now? He’d probably be about 80 years old. (Gum Inc.)

Jose Canseco takes a big swing. Fans were in awe of his power when he first came up with Oakland. (Black Book Partners)

I think Mark McGwire may have missed this pitch. Check out the catcher’s mitt—it looks like it’s squeezing a baseball, right? (Black Book Partners)

Gio Gonzalez signed this card from his last year in Oakland. The A’s took a big gamble trading him, but they got some amazing guys in return. (Topps, Inc.)

  • Eddie Collins — Second Baseman
    Born: 5/2/1887
    Died: 3/25/1951
    Played for Team: 1906 to 1914 & 1927 to 1930
    Eddie Collins was one of the smartest and fastest players in baseball. Collins helped the A’s win six pennants. He led the league in runs scored in each year from 1912 to 1914.

  • Jack Coombs — Pitcher
    Born: 11/18/1882
    Died: 4/15/1957
    Played for Team: 1906 to 1914
    Jack Coombs won 31 games for the A’s in 1910, plus three more against the Chicago Cubs in the World Series that fall. He was one of the smartest players and best all-around athletes in the game when he played. After retiring, Coombs coached the baseball team at Duke University from 1929 to 1952.

  • Frank Baker — Third Baseman
    Born: 3/13/1886
    Died: 6/28/1963
    Played for Team: 1908 to 1914
    Frank “Home Run” Baker was the best-hitting third baseman of his time. He drilled line drives all over the field—and over the fences, which is how he got his nickname. From 1909 to 1914, he was the most feared slugger in baseball.

  • Bob Johnson — Outfielder
    Born: 11/27/1905
    Died: 7/6/1982
    Played for Team: 1933 to 1942
    Bob Johnson was one of baseball’s most reliable sluggers. He hit 20 or more homers nine years in a row. At the time, only four other players had accomplished this feat. When Johnson retired, he ranked among the Top 10 home run hitters of all-time. Not bad for a player who didn’t play in the majors until he was 27!

  • Sal Bando — Third Baseman
    Born: 2/13/1944
    Played for Team: 1966 to 1976
    Sal Bando was the captain of the A’s during their three World Series championships in the 1970s. He was just the second AL third baseman to hit 200 home runs. Bando was at his best with men on base. He led the A’s in RBIs three different times and was runner-up to teammate Vida Blue in the 1971 AL MVP voting.

  • Jose Canseco — Outfielder
    Born: 7/2/1964
    Played for Team: 1985 to 1992 & 1997
    In 1988, Jose Canseco became the first player in history to have 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in the same season. He battled wrist and back problems throughout his years with the A’s but still led the league in home runs twice. Canseco was AL Rookie of the Year in 1986 and AL MVP in 1988.

  • Mark McGwire — First Baseman
    Born: 10/1/1963
    Played for Team: 1986 to 1997
    Mark McGwire was a third baseman in the minor leagues. The A’s moved him to first base in 1987, and he set a record for rookies with 49 home runs. He led the league in homers a second time with 52 in 1996. McGwire was an All-Star nine times during his years in Oakland.

  • Dave Stewart — Pitcher
    Born: 2/19/1957
    Played for Team: 1986 to 1992 & 1995
    Dave Stewart tried his hand as a starter and reliever with three teams before joining the A’s. After he learned how to control his sinking fastball, he became the only pitcher during the 1980s to win 20 games three seasons in a row. Stewart won two games in the 1989 World Series and was named MVP.

  • Tim Hudson — Pitcher
    Born: 7/14/1975
    Played for Team: 1999 to 2004
    Along with Mark Mulder and Barry Zito, Tim Hudson gave the A’s three top-flight pitchers. He never gave in to hitters—he challenged them to beat him, and they rarely did. In his six seasons with Oakland, Hudson never lost more than nine games.

  • Gio Gonzalez — Pitcher
    Born: 9/19/1985
    Played for Team: 2008 to 2011
    To get Gio Gonzalez, the A’s traded Nick Swisher, one of their most popular
    players. Gonzalez was worth the price. He won 16 games in 2011 and pitched in the All-Star Game.

  • Khris Davis — Outfielder
    Born: 12/21/1987
    First Year with Team: 2016
    At 5’10” and 190 lbs., Khris Davis doesn’t look like a slugger. In his first two seasons in Oakland he proved that looks can be deceiving. He slugged 85 homers and knocked in 212 runs. Davis was the first Athletics player with back-to-back 40-homer seasons since Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx in the 1930s.

More Fun Facts

This card of Harry Davis came in a pack of cigarettes in 1909. Back then people didn’t know smoking could kill you. Dads would buy a pack and saves the cards for their kids. There were hundreds in this set, so you can imagine how much smoking it took to get all of the players. Yuck! (Sweet Caporal)

  • BUSY BODY
    In 1964, Bert Campaneris became just the second player to hit two home runs in his first big-league game. In 1965, he played all nine positions in the same game. In 1968, “Campy” led the league in hits and stolen bases, and also participated in six double plays in one game. And in 1973, Campaneris caught the final out of the World Series.

  • HEY COACH, CAN I PITCH?
    In high school, Brad Peacock was a light-hitting third baseman. At the end of his senior year he asked his coach if he could try pitching. He was an instant success and was striking out big-league hitters five years later.

  • TRIPLE TROUBLE
    In 2002, Randy Velarde pulled off an unassisted triple play against the New York Yankees. It was his second of the year—Velarde also had one in spring training.

  • ON SECOND THOUGHT
    In a 1972 game against the Chicago White Sox, the A’s used eight second basemen.

  • HERBIE RUNS AGAIN
    In 1974, the A’s signed track star Herb Washington. He was not a good hitter or fielder. His only job was to be a pinch-runner. It even said so on his baseball card.

  • FENCE BUSTER
    In 1907, Harry Davis became the first player to lead the league in homers four years in a row. He hit a total of 38 from 1904 to 1907.

  • HE STARTED IT, MOM!
    When Jason and Jeremy Giambi were teammates on the A’s, they lived at home with their parents and slept in the old bedroom they shared as kids.

League Leaders

Frank Baker was known for his home runs, but he was a good fielder, too. Check out the old glove—this was before they sewed all the fingers together. (Author’s Collection)

What a cool picture—McGwire, Jackson & Canseco—three Oakland home run champs. This came from a charity auction. (Author’s Collection)

This picture of Al Simmons came inserted in an issue of The Sporting News. I’ve had it since I was a teenager. (The Sporting News)

How did Rickey Henderson get a round cap to stay on that ‘do? (Author’s Collection)

I believe this is Barry Zito’s rookie card. He is still going strong a dozen years later. (Topps, Inc.)

This Lefty Grove card came with pieces of DeLong Gum in the 1930s. Bubble Gum was a new invention back then, and it was really popular. It helped start a trading card boom among kids that continues to this day. (Delong Gum Co.)

I’ll admit it. I was shocked when this card came out in 1971. I had never seen Diego Segui pitch in my life. And you know what? I don’t think I ever did after 1971. Weird. (Topps, Inc.)

  • Home Runs
    1901 — Napoleon Lajoie — 14
    1902 — Socks Seybold — 16
    1904 — Harry Davis — 10
    1905 — Harry Davis — 8
    1906 — Harry Davis — 12
    1907 — Harry Davis — 8
    1911 — Frank Baker — 11
    1912 — Frank Baker — 10
    1913 — Frank Baker — 12
    1914 — Frank Baker — 9
    1918 — Tilly Walker — 11
    1932 — Jimmie Foxx — 58
    1933 — Jimmie Foxx — 48
    1935 — Jimmie Foxx — 36
    1951 — Gus Zernial — 33*
    1973 — Reggie Jackson — 32
    1975 — Reggie Jackson — 36
    1981 — Tony Armas — 22**
    1987 — Mark McGwire — 49
    1988 — Jose Canseco — 42
    1991 — Jose Canseco — 44
    1996 — Mark McGwire — 52
    2018 — Khris Davis — 48

    * Also played for the White Sox in 1951
    ** The 1981 season was shortened by a labor dispute
    .

  • Batting Average
    1901 — Napoleon Lajoie — .426
    1930 — Al Simmons — .381
    1931 — Al Simmons — .390
    1933 — Jimmie Foxx — .356
    1951 — Ferris Fain — .344
    1952 — Ferris Fain — .327

  • Runs Batted In
    1901 — Napoleon Lajoie — 125
    1905 — Harry Davis — 83
    1906 — Harry Davis — 96
    1912 — Frank Baker — 130
    1913 — Frank Baker — 117
    1929 — Al Simmons — 157
    1932 — Jimmie Foxx — 169
    1933 — Jimmie Foxx — 163
    1973 — Reggie Jackson — 117
    1988 — Jose Canseco — 124

  • Stolen Bases
    1902 — Topsy Hartsell — 47
    1905 — Danny Hoffman — 46
    1910 — Eddie Collins — 81
    1937 — Bill Werber — 35
    1965 — Bert Campaneris — 51
    1966 — Bert Campaneris — 52
    1967 — Bert Campaneris — 55
    1968 — Bert Campaneris — 62
    1970 — Bert Campaneris — 42
    1972 — Bert Campaneris — 52
    1974 — Bill North — 54
    1976 — Bill North — 75
    1980 — Rickey Henderson — 100
    1981 — Rickey Henderson — 56**
    1982 — Rickey Henderson — 130
    1983 — Rickey Henderson — 108
    1984 — Rickey Henderson — 66
    1990 — Rickey Henderson — 65
    1991 — Rickey Henderson — 58
    1998 — Rickey Henderson — 66

    ** The 1981 season was shortened by a labor dispute.

  • Wins
    1905 — Rube Waddell — 27
    1910 — Jack Coombs — 31
    1911 — Jack Coombs — 28
    1922 — Eddie Rommel — 27
    1925 — Eddie Rommel — 21
    1928 — Lefty Grove — 24
    1929 — George Earnshaw — 24
    1930 — Lefty Grove — 28
    1931 — Lefty Grove — 31
    1933 — Lefty Grove — 24
    1952 — Bobby Shantz — 24
    1974 — Catfish Hunter — 25
    1981 — Steve McCatty — 14**
    1987 — Dave Stewart — 20
    1990 — Bob Welch — 27
    2000 — Tim Hudson — 20
    2001 — Mark Mulder — 21
    2002 — Barry Zito — 23

    ** The 1981 season was shortened by a labor dispute.

  • Strikeouts
    1902 — Rube Waddell — 210
    1903 — Rube Waddell — 302
    1904 — Rube Waddell — 349
    1905 — Rube Waddell — 287
    1906 — Rube Waddell — 196
    1907 — Rube Waddell — 232
    1925 — Lefty Grove — 116
    1926 — Lefty Grove — 194
    1927 — Lefty Grove — 174
    1928 — Lefty Grove — 183
    1929 — Lefty Grove — 170
    1930 — Lefty Grove — 209
    1931 — Lefty Grove — 175

  • Earned Run Average
    1905 — Rube Waddell — 1.48
    1909 — Harry Krause — 1.39
    1926 — Lefty Grove — 2.51
    1929 — Lefty Grove — 2.81
    1930 — Lefty Grove — 2.54
    1931 — Lefty Grove — 2.06
    1932 — Lefty Grove — 2.84
    1970 — Diego Segui — 2.56
    1971 — Vida Blue — 1.82
    1974 — Catfish Hunter — 2.49
    1994 — Steve Ontiveros — 2.65

Playing for the Championship

This program is from the first “all-California” World Series in 1974. Kind of a cool cover. The ball is supposed to be a globe. (Author’s Collection)

YEAR OPPONENT RESULT
1905 New York Giants Lost 4–1
1910 Chicago Cubs Won 4–1
1911 New York Giants Won 4–2
1913 New York Giants Won 4–1
1914 Boston Braves Lost 4–0
1929 Chicago Cubs Won 4–1
1930 St. Louis Cardinals Won 4–2
1931 St. Louis Cardinals Lost 4–3
1972 Cincinnati Reds Won 4–3
1973 New York Mets Won 4–3
1974 Los Angeles Dodgers Won 4–0
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers Lost 4–1
1989 San Francisco Giants Won 4–0
1990 Cincinnati Reds Lost 4–0

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