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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE

Oakland A's

Major League Baseball owners have voted to allow the Oakland Athletics to relocate to Las Vegas. They bring 123 years of MLB history. Here are some highlights — and lowlights — that have made them one of the most unique franchises in pro sports.

The A's know Vegas

Besides having their Triple-A affiliate Aviators playing at Las Vegas Ballpark, the A's started the 1996 season at Cashman Field. The Raiders were having "Mount Davis" built at Oakland Coliseum that April, so the A's played their first six home games against the Blue Jays and the Tigers at Cashman. They went 2-4 at Cashman, winning the last game on Geronimo Berroa's walk-off homer.

The “Charles O. Finley” baseball The A's were granted permission by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn to use orange baseballs for a couple of spring training games. Oakland was beaten 11-5 by the Indians in the first game using those balls.

Why the Elephants?

In 1902, the Philadelphia A’s were set to play the New York Giants in the World Series. Giants manager John McGraw refused to play the A’s, who were representing the upstart American League against the National League Giants. McGraw called them "The White Elephants, implying the team was not worth the money that had been spent on its players. A’s owner/manager Connie Mack soon adopted the White Elephant on the team’s logo. The elephant was shelved when they moved to Oakland, but made a comeback in 1988. The pachyderm can be found on their batting practice and spring training caps and uniforms.

What about the mule?

That’s Charlie-O, the mascot created by Finley to replace the elephant. The Mule, which is the state animal of Missouri, who was used from 1965 to 1976.

Charley Finley years

The A’s under Charles Finley (1960-1980) were showmen, marketers and champions. But in his obituary, ESPN wrote Finley was "a loudmouth, a tyrant and a miser. He also was a master showman and innovator.”

Besides the mule, Finley made enemies of the players, other owners and the baseball commissioner.

Their uniforms were Kelly green, wedding gown white and Fort Knox gold, as they were early pioneers of the mix-and-match fashion trend.

The players won three titles in this time but couldn't wait to leave because of the way Finley treated his players.

What have been their nicknames?

The A's
The Elephants
The White Elephants
The Swingin' A's
The Green and Gold

Remember the Bash Brothers?

Las Vegas resident Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire both got their start with the A’s. From 1988-90 they combined for 200 home runs as fans flocked to watch them hit mammoth shots over the Coliseum wall. The Bash Brothers nickname came from their home run prowess as well their habit of slamming forearms after hitting a homer.

Longevity in the dugout

The A’s owner and manager for the first 50 years of the franchise was Connie Mack. There have been 29 managers in the 70 years since Mack’s death.

The other managers to win championships since Mack are Dick Williams and Tony LaRussa.

Time to watch ‘Moneyball’

Brad Pitt doesn’t work for the A’s, but he did run them in the 2011 film “Moneyball,” which was based on the 2003 book by Michael Lewis. It’s about then general manager Billy Beane, whom Pitt played and is now the team’s vice president of baseball operations. And it’s all true. The A’s won 20 games in a row in 2002. They came this close to beating the Yankees in the playoffs. And they proved a baseball team can win with a low budget and a different game plan.

Run, Rickey, run

The Oakland Coliseum turf is called Rickey Henderson Field because the former A’s outfielder owned it during his four stints with the team. He owns the career record with 1,406 stolen bases and is considered the game’s greatest leadoff hitter.

Championship pedigree

The A’s have won nine World Series titles (1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1989), 5 American League pennants, 17 West Division titles and four wild card berths.

Hall of Fame history

The A’s have had more than their share of Hall of Fame players in all three homes:

  • Philadelphia: 21
  • Kansas City: 6
  • Oakland: 17
Jimmy Collins
Jimmie Fox
Reggie Jackson
Rollie Fingers
Dennis Eckersley

A brief history of the Oakland A’s

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