Since the A’s were formed in 1901, there have been a lot of spectacular campaigns put together over the course of a single season, whether it be from the club’s stint in Philadelphia, Kansas City or Oakland.
With plenty of Hall of Famers to choose from, here’s a look at the top five individual seasons by a pitcher in A’s history.
1. Lefty Grove, 1931
Grove is probably deserving of a top-five list of his own brilliant seasons. He captured his first Triple Crown in 1930, but it was Grove’s second Triple Crown-winning effort the following season that stands as the best of his Hall of Fame career. Grove went an astonishing 31-4 with a career-best 2.06 ERA and racked up 175 strikeouts. Of his 30 games started, 27 were complete games (four shutouts) as he helped lead the A’s to their third consecutive American League pennant. Though the A’s fell to the Cardinals in the World Series that year, Grove’s superb season earned him the first and only AL MVP Award of his career.
2. Lefty Grove, 1930
The Philadelphia A’s were in the midst of a dynasty by winning their second straight World Series title in 1930. Grove went 28-5 with a 2.54 ERA, and his 209 strikeouts were the highest single-season total of his 17-year career. Grove and the A’s knocked off the Cardinals in the Fall Classic that year, with the left-hander going 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA in three World Series appearances.
3. Vida Blue, 1971
It takes doing something truly remarkable for a pitcher to win both the Cy Young and MVP Award in a single season, and that’s exactly what Blue did in 1971. Pitching in his first full Major League season, Blue burst onto the scene in dominant fashion. Winning 10 straight games at one point in the season -- nine of which were complete games -- Blue finished the year going 24-8 with an AL-best 1.82 ERA. His 301 strikeouts that year remain the most recorded in a season by a pitcher in Oakland history.
4. Jack Coombs, 1910
You can’t dream up a better individual season than the one put together by Coombs in 1910. The right-hander went an incredible 31-9 with a 1.30 ERA. Not bad, right? But that wasn’t even the best part, as the right-hander was downright heroic in the World Series. Coombs bested Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown in Game 2, came back on one day's rest to earn a win in Game 3, then beat Brown again in Game 5 on two days of rest to help the A’s clinch their first World Series championship in club history. Not even on "MLB The Show" will you find such an impressive scenario play out like Coombs’ effort that year.
5. Rube Waddell, 1904
Though Waddell won the Triple Crown in 1905, his 11.3 bWAR for the 1904 season is the highest over a single season by a pitcher in franchise history. Waddell went 25-19 with a 1.62 ERA and amassed 349 strikeouts over 383 innings. Waddell’s 349 strikeouts remained a single-season record post-1900 until Sandy Koufax eclipsed it with 382 punchouts in ‘65.
Barry Zito, 2002
A part of the heralded “Big Three,” Zito managed to separate himself in 2002 by winning the AL Cy Young Award after a strong campaign that saw him go 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA. The lefty led the AL in wins and finished third in ERA and strikeouts (182). Zito was the first A’s pitcher to win the Cy Young Award since Dennis Eckersley in 1992.