From Connie Mack’s powerhouse teams in Philadelphia to the flashy champions who called Oakland home, the Athletics have remained one of baseball’s most distinctive franchises.
Mack cut a singular figure as he wore business suits while managing the A’s for 50 years. The ballclub continued to demonstrate more flash and dash, whether it was in the form of reliever Rollie Fingers’ handlebar mustache or Rickey Henderson’s daring baserunning. These men and many others have helped the A’s endure.
See for yourself.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s collection of more than 40,000 three-dimensional pieces contains artifacts that tell the story of the game’s legendary players, moments and triumphs. Beginning this summer and running through the end of 2020, the Hall of Fame will share some of those memorable artifacts through a new limited time experience: Starting Nine, which features nine artifacts from each of the 30 current MLB franchises. Whether you’ve visited before or you’ve always wanted to check it out, this is another great reason to plan a visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum -- the spiritual home of America’s Pastime in beautiful Cooperstown, N.Y.
1. Howard’s last hurrah
Where: Autumn Glory exhibit
Fun facts: Howard Ehmke was an accomplished yet fading pitcher for Philadelphia when Mack sent him on a trip late in the 1929 season to scout the Chicago Cubs, the A’s likely World Series opponent. Relying on guile, the 35-year-old Ehmke permitted an unearned run, struck out 13 and pitched a complete game in Philadelphia’s 3-1 victory in Game 1 of the Series. It was the final victory recorded by Ehmke, who wore this glove in that game.
2. Grand finale for the Grand Old Man
Where: One for the Books exhibit
Fun facts: This baseball was a memento from Mack’s last managerial victory, recorded on Oct. 1, 1950, in his half-century at the helm of the A’s. He was 87 when he stepped down, having guided his teams to 3,731 wins.
3. Fingers has a hand in winning
Where: Autumn Glory exhibit Fun facts: Of the 19 games Oakland played while winning three consecutive World Series (1972-74), Fingers appeared in 16 of them, reflecting his importance to the club. The relief ace wore this jersey in Game 5 of the ’74 Fall Classic against the Dodgers, whom he blanked for the final two innings in Oakland’s Series-clinching 3-2 win.
4) Tools of a thief
Where: One for the Books exhibit Fun facts: Henderson stepped into these spikes on Aug. 27, 1982, at Milwaukee before stealing his 119th base to break the single-season record that St. Louis’ Lou Brock set in '74. Henderson never stopped running, leading the American League in thefts 11 times from '80-91. He finished his career with 1,406 steals, including 867 with the A’s.
5) This is what aces do
Where: Whole New Ballgame exhibit Fun facts: It wasn’t enough for Dave Stewart to blank the Giants, 5-0, in Game 1 of the 1989 World Series. Wearing this jersey, Stewart returned to start Game 3, which ended the 10-day interruption forced by the Loma Prieta earthquake. He earned the decision in Oakland’s 13-7 victory on his way to winning Series MVP honors.
6) Mother’s Day masterpiece
Where: Locker Room exhibit Fun facts: Dallas Braden stood taller than usual when he laced up these spikes and pitched the 19th perfect game in Major League history, a 4-0 decision over the Tampa Bay Rays. The May 9, 2010, affair happened to coincide with Mother’s Day, which had special meaning for Braden. He was raised by his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, after his mother died of cancer when he was in high school. Lindsey, who never missed any of Braden’s home starts, was on hand for this one.
7) He should have worn a tearaway jersey
Where: Locker Room exhibit Fun facts: No wonder Khris Davis’ uniform top is in tatters. Everybody wanted a piece of him after he delivered his second run of the game, a 10th-inning walk-off drive that gave the A’s a 7-6 win on Sept. 21, 2018. Davis’ overjoyed, overzealous teammates grabbed at him and pounded him so hard that his jersey nearly disintegrated.
8) Some records really do last forever
Where: Timeline exhibit Fun facts: Hall of Famer Eddie Plank wore this sweater toward the end of an illustrious career. One of the finest pitchers of the “dead ball” era, Plank still holds franchise records for wins (284), strikeouts (1,985) and shutouts (59).
9) Eck’s evolution
Where: Whole New Ballgame exhibit Fun facts: Dennis Eckersley evolved into an all-time great reliever after being an above-average starter. He racked up 320 saves in nine seasons with the A’s, reaching a high of 51 in 1992. He also compiled a 0.61 ERA in 63 appearances with the A’s in '90.