Goodbye Sacramento, Hello Nashville!

The Oakland Athletics have announced that they have reached an agreement on a 4-year Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Nashville Sounds of the Pacific Coast League. This is the first AAA affiliate change for the Oakland Athletics since minor league baseball moved back to Sacramento in 2000.

The Nashville Sounds will be moving into their new ballpark, First Tennessee Park in the 2015 season and the Athletics farm hands will be the first to experience the new facility.

This change has come as no surprise as it was reported back in May the the River Cats could seek a new affiliate at the end of the 2014 season. Here is a link to our original story: River Cats. The Athletics leave behind an amazing legacy in Sacramento, one that will be difficult to duplicate. 11 division titles, including a stretch from 2007-12, 4 League titles and 2 Class titles (2007, 2008).

Now the Athletics will begin a new era of AAA baseball in Nashville where they will create a new legacy.

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LaRussa on HOF’s Expansion Era Ballot

Three of the greatest managers of the past generation headline the Hall of Fame’s Expansion Era Ballot.  Long-time Atlanta Braves skipper Bobby Cox, New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and Oakland Athletics manager Tony LaRussa appear on the ballot for the first time.

Tony began his managerial tenure with the Chicago White Sox, who he led from 1979 until halfway through 1986.  His record with the White Sox was 522-510 (.506).  He led the them to a first place finish in 1983. After leaving the White Sox LaRussa took the job with the Oakland Athletics.  This was the team where his career would blossom.  He would be with the Athletics from 1986 until 1995.  Tony’s record during his tenure was 798-673 (.542).  He led the Athletics to 4 1st place finishes (1988-90, 92), 3 American League Pennant (1988-90) and 1 World Series victory in 1989.

After leaving Oakland, Tony took the helm of the St. Louis Cardinals where Tony would finish out his managerial career.  Tony was with the Cardinals from 1996 until 2011.  His record was 1408-1182 (.544).  He would lead the Cardinals to 7 first place finishes (1996, 2000, 02, 04-06 & 09), 3 National League Pennants (2004, 06, 11) and 2 World Series victories (2006 & 11).

Tony was nothing, if not consistent in his managerial record. He was a plus .500 manager with all 3 clubs he has led.  His career record is 2728-2365 (.536) in 33 years.  He led his teams to 12 1st place finished, won 6 League pennants and 3 World Series titles.  Tony is third on the all-time list for victories and is the best manager of his generation.

Athletics finish season with rout of Mariners

The Oakland Athletics wrapped up the regular season on Sunday with a decisive 9-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners.  The Athletics finish the season with a record of 96-66.

Sonny Gray took the hill and pitched 5 strong innings giving up only 3 hits while striking out 8.  Sonny wraps up his first year with a record of 5-3, 67 strikeouts in 64 innings and a 2.67 ERA.

The offense was led by Seth Smith who was 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and an RBI.  Daric Barton also drove in a couple for runs on a single in the Top of the 5th inning.

The Athletics will have 4 days off before the start of the Postseason.  They will set their sights on the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS starting on Friday, October 4th.  All signs point to Bartolo Colon (18-6, 2.65 ERA) as the Game 1 starter.  This will be the 2nd year in a row that the Athletics will face the Tigers in the ALDS.

Oakland Athletics 2013 AL West Champions!

In the bottom of the 3rd inning the news came across the Oakland Coliseum that Justin Maxwell of the Kansas City Royals hit a game winning grand slam against the Texas Rangers securing for the Athletics the division title.  By that time the Athletics were already leading the Minnesota Twins by the score of 6-1.  The Athletics would go on to win the game 11-7 completing a 4-game sweep of the Twins and finishing up the 2013 home season.

Sonny Gray (4-3, 2.90 ERA) pitched 5 strong innings securing his 4th win of the season.  Sonny allowed 4 runs  while striking out 3 batters.  The offensive onslaught was lead by Coco Crisp who went 2 for 4 with 4 RBIs.  Coco hit his 22nd home run and stole his 20th base today reaching the 20/20 mark for the first time in his career.

Oswaldo Arcia was trying to play the spoiler today for the Twins.  Oswaldo went 3 for 4 driving in 6 of the Twins 7 runs.  This is his 1st season in the majors and he is batting .254 with 14 home runs.  The 22-year-old Arcia could be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.

Evan Scribner came in to pitch the 9th inning.  After giving up 2 runs, Evan struck out Josmil Pinto to end the game and begin the celebration of the division title.

Congratulations to the Oakland Athletics on being the American League West Division Champions for the 2nd year in a row!

Oakland Athletics Magic Number: 2

2

With the combination of the Oakland Athletics resounding victory over the Minnesota Twins and the Kansas City Royals narrowly defeating the Texas Rangers, the Magic Number for the Athletics to clinch the AL West Division slides down to 2.

The Athletics will look to wrap up the division this weekend before the home crowd prior to heading out on the road to take on the LA Angels in a 3 game set starting on Monday.

Athletics rout Twins increase lead to 7.5 games

With only 8 games left to play the Oakland Athletics extended their AL West Division lead to 7.5 games on Friday night.  The Athletics trounced the Minnesota Twins 11-0.  Bartolo Colon picked up his 17th win of the season lowering his ERA to 2.64.  He struck out 8 in 6 innings.   Continue reading

Athletics drop 2 of 3 to Angels, but maintain West lead

The Oakland Athletics dropped the final game of the series on Wednesday afternoon in a frustrating loss the LA Angels.  The Athletics were 2 outs away from securing a 4-2 victory when usually reliable closer Grant Balfour gave up a 2-run home run to Josh Hamilton to tie the game.  The Angels would go on to score 1 run in the top of the 11th inning to take a 5-4 lead, which would hold up to give them the victory.

However, the Athletics maintain their 6.5 game lead over the Texas Rangers.  They received help from the Tampa Bay Rays as the had their own extra inning victory over the Texas Rangers by the score of 4-3.

The Minnesota Twins come into town for the 1st time in 2013 to play a 4 game weekend set starting Thursday.  These are the final 4 regular season games for the Athletics and they still have a chance to clinch the division at home.

Series recap:
Monday, September 16th
LA Angels 12
Oakland Athletics 1
WP: C.J. Wilson (17-6)
LP: Jarrod Parker (11-7)

Tuesday, September 17th
LA Angels 1
Oakland Athletics 2
WP: Grant Balfour (1-3)
LP: Michael Kohn (1-3)

Wednesday, September 18th
LA Angels 5
Oakland Athletics 4
WP: Juan Gutierrez (1-4)
LP: Jesse Chavez 2-4)
SV: Ernesto Frieri (35)

Throwback Thursday: Unocal 76 Athletics Pin Sets

For Throwback Thursday I wanted to display my collection of Oakland Athletics pins from the late-1980’s and early-1990s.  The first photo is the set that was distributed in 1988 by Unocal 76.  This set featured 4 pins.  The first about the history of the Elephant Mascot which the Oakland Athletics re-adopted at the beginning of the 1988 season.  The second pins celebrates the opening day of the Oakland Coliseum, April 17, 1968.  The third pin displays the 3 World Series Championships from 1972, 1973 and 1974.  The fourth and final pin depicts the 1987 All-Star Game held at the Oakland Coliseum.

Pins from the 1988 Unocal 76 A's set

Pins from the 1988 Unocal 76 A’s set

The next photo features the pin set put out by Unocal 76 in 1989.   Continue reading