OAKLAND -- A host of Oakland A's greats gathered at the Coliseum on Saturday morning, as the club held a ceremony to rename Gate C to the Catfish Hunter Gate, a nod to the late, great former A's pitcher.Former A's catcher and current broadcaster Ray Fosse served as emcee for
OAKLAND -- A host of Oakland A's greats gathered at the Coliseum on Saturday morning, as the club held a ceremony to rename Gate C to the Catfish Hunter Gate, a nod to the late, great former A's pitcher.
Former A's catcher and current broadcaster Ray Fosse served as emcee for the event, which also featured Oakland greats like Vida Blue, John "Blue Moon" Odom, Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace, Bert Campaneris, Rickey Henderson and Darold Knowles, and former broadcaster Monte Moore.
It was just the latest nod to the organization's rich history under the direction of first-year team president Dave Kaval.
"This physical representation of Catfish -- of what he meant to our organization, to our community -- it's going to last the test of time," Kaval said. "First here at the Coliseum for our remaining years here and then for our new ballpark. He will be honored in a very special way there as well. We're going to get to have a second party so that will be great. It's a special day for our organization. It means a lot to me that everyone is here celebrating this history."
Hunter spent the first 10 years of his Hall of Fame career with the A's, winning three straight World Series with the club from 1972-74 along with the 1974 Cy Young Award. After being diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, Hunter passed away in 1999 at the age of 53.
On Saturday, the Hunter family was represented by his children, Todd, Paul, and Kimberly, along with his widow Helen, who flew out from North Carolina to join the event. Following a brief celebration of Hunter's career and life, Rudi and Blue did the honors of dropping the curtain and unveiling the newly named Catfish Hunter Gate. The teammates, family and friends also took part in an on-field ceremony before Saturday's contest against the Yankees to honor Hunter.
"We had many great times," Helen Hunter said. "These ballplayers that are here, they are friends forever. And their wives, I just love them to death, too. We had some great times at the ballparks."
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.