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From Philadelphia to Kansas City and finally to their current home in Oakland, California, the Athletics have been getting the crowd on their feet since 1901. Charter members of the American League, they have been playing out of the West Division since its inception in 1969. Though the World Series has eluded them in recent history, this franchise has had a tremendous amount of success historically.
Winners of nine World Series titles over the years, the Oakland Athletics have captured 15 American League pennants out of their 18 postseason appearances. Out of those 18 playoff trips, only two were via a Wild Card Berth. The other 16 were through winning the AL West title. This success gives little consolation to the current fan base, however, as their last trip to the Fall Classic was in 1990 and their last championship was in 1989.
This famous series, often referred to as the “Bay Bridge Series” or the “Earthquake Series” saw the Oakland Athletics square off against their neighbor and biggest rival, the San Francisco Giants. Up two games to none, the Athletics travelled to San Francisco and were minutes away from the start of game three when a major earthquake rocked the city. Measuring in at a magnitude 6.9, this quake devastated the bay area. Manager Tony LaRussa was able to reel his players in and have them focus on the game. When the series resumed 10 days later, the Athletics won games three and four to sweep the series in convincing fashion.
Today’s squad would like to advance to the World Series again, while avoiding a natural disaster. Manager Bob Melvin has his hands full following three losing seasons. The goal for this year is to shake the past few seasons off and start fresh. The young pitching staff featuring Sean Manaea, Andrew Triggs, and Daniel Mengden will be instrumental in putting together a winning season. Jharel Cotton will miss the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The lineup is a mix of talent that will need to be molded into a cohesive unit. Veteran outfielder Matt Joyce had a great first season in Oakland last year and is eager to keep it going. Along with rookie Dustin Fowler and the recently added Stephen Piscotty, this group tracks down anything hit deep. New to the bay area is catcher Jonathan Lucroy. His infield, however, consists of players who have spent time in Oakland. Veterans Jed Lowrie and Marcus Siemen work alongside younger players in Matt Olson and Matt Chapman to play tight defense.
Success in Oakland is something that the fans have come to expect. Melvin and company had better figure out a way to turn this team into contenders before the patrons of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum grow too restless. Among those most remembered for the mark they left on baseball fans in this Bay City are Tony LaRussa, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Dennis Eckersley, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, and Rickey Henderson. Additional information pertaining to the history of the Oakland Athletics as well as the current squad can be attained by clicking here.