From the white elephants of the east coast to the green and gold of the west coast, the Athletics have had a colorful and successful run in the American League, witnessing its birth and leading its geographic expansion to the Midwest and west coast. Along the way, the Athletics have done much to influence and shape the destiny of the national game.

For its inaugural season of 1901, the American League awarded a franchise to Philadelphia and the Shibe family, which had made its name in the sporting goods business. Connie Mack, a serviceable catcher in the 19th century, became the man to oversee baseball operations for the team, and he proceeded to do so for the next 50 years, a record of longevity unmatched in the game.

The Athletics debuted on April 26, 1901 with a 5-1 loss to Washington and won the franchise's first game 8-5 against the Red Sox three days later. Nap Lajoie was the star of this first team, hitting .422 (still an American League record). He also recorded 14 home runs and drove in 125 runs — a Triple Crown performance.

In 1902, Lajoie was gone to Cleveland in a legal dispute. But Mack led his team to its first pennant behind legendary aces Rube Waddell (24-7, 2.05) and Eddie Plank (20-15, 3.30).

Because the World Series was not devised until 1903, the Mackmen had to wait until their 1905 pennant to participate in a fall classic. They got there behind the spinning of Waddell (26-11, 1.48) and Plank (25-12, 2.26) and a young Chief Bender (16-11, 2.83). Philadelphia lost the series to the New York Giants 4-1, a bitter pill to swallow since it was Giant manager John McGraw who had disparagingly labeled the Athletics as "White Elephants" when they were formed, a less-than-generous evaluation of the team and Mack's ability to manage it.

Mack built one of the league's first real dynasties, moving into Shibe Park (later Connie Mack Stadium) in 1909, and winning world Championships in 1910-11-13 behind the famous "$100,000 infield— of Stuffy McInnis, Eddie Collins, Jack Barry and Frank "Home Run" Baker - solid players all, with Collins the leader of the pack hitting .322, .365 and .345 in the championship years.

The team steamrolled to another American League pennant in 1914, but they were swept by the miracle Boston Braves in the Series, still considered one of the biggest upsets in baseball history. Mack, always operating on a noose-tight budget, decided he could not afford to keep his championship team intact.

He took the team apart so quickly that the Athletics plummeted to last place in 1915, and lost a then-record 117 games in 1916. Things didn't improve until the mid 1920's when Mack began to assemble the greatest team of his tenure.

The Athletics won three consecutive pennants in 1929-31 behind a sledgehammer of a lineup featuring Jimmie Foxx, the most prolific right hand home run hitter of his time. The burly slugger averaged .342 in these three years, totaling 100 and 393 runs-batted-in.

Foxx was backed by the equally fearsome Al Simmons, who averaged .378 during this three-year span, getting 200 or more hits each year, totaling 92 home runs and 450 RBI. Catcher Mickey Cochran would hit .331, .357 and .349 and handle a first-rate pitching staff led by arguably one of the best southpaws in American League history, Lefty Grove. Grove would win 20, 28 and 31 games in this span, leading the league in ERA and strikeouts all three seasons. With Rube Walberg and George Earnshaw sharing starter duties, the A's rarely wanted for a quality start.

The Athletics won the 1929 World Series against the Cubs in five games, using an amazing 10-run seventh inning rally to erase an 8-0 deficit and win the pivotal fourth game. They also won in 1930, but lost in 1931, both against St. Louis.

Foxx made a run at Ruth's single season home run record in 1932 with 58 homers. He also knocked in 169 runs and batted.349). Grove went 25-10 but the team finished a distant second to the Yankees. Again facing financial problems, Mack began slowly selling off his team rather than pay the salaries commanded by his stars. In the next few seasons Grove, Foxx, Simmons and Cochran would be gone and the Athletics would never know another post season while in Philadelphia. In fact, the team finished last nine times between 1935-46.

Mack finally retired after the 1950 season and his sons, now running the team, could no longer maintain the financial viability of a perennial loser. Attendance had slipped badly as had the Shibe Park neighborhood. The Mack family sold the team to businessman Arnold Johnson, who took the franchise west to Kansas City in 1954.


The Athletics spent 13 undistinguished years playing at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City. The team never contended or escaped the second division. Charlie Finley bought the team in 1960 and moved it to Oakland eight years later.


The A's were shortly on the upswing and soon dynasty would be the watchword. They won five consecutive Western Division titles from 1971-75 and three consecutive world championships in 1972-74. They won with a flair unique to baseball at the time, wearing green and gold uniforms in a baseball world of home whites and road grays; and sporting fancy moustaches and long sideburns. The offense featured a solid lineup including Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Sal Bando and Bert Campaneris. They never put up gaudy numbers, but their pitchers did, especially Jim "Catfish" Hunter, with 21 victories in 1971-73 and 25 in 1974, Ken Holtzman (21, 19 and eighteen wins) and Vida Blue (three 20-plus win seasons).

Like Connie Mack before him, Finley could not, or would not, pay the high salary demands of his winning ballplayers and soon his fire sale and free agency stripped the club again. Except for a half-pennant under Billy Martin in the strike-shortened 1981 season, Finley's winning days were behind him and he sold the club to Levi Jeans owner Walter Haas in 1981.

Haas' new front office poured money and scouting resources into the club and the A's were talking dynasty again, winning pennants in 1988-89-90. Sparked by leadoff hitter Ricky Henderson (who would set career marks in runs scored, stolen bases and walks) and buttressed by the power of Jose Canseco (the first-ever 40 home run/40 stolen base season in 1988) and Mark McGwire (32, 33 and 39 home runs), the A's pummeled the American League and swept the Giants of San Francisco in the 1989 World Series. The blemish against this dynasty was its losing the World Series in 1988 and 1990 to the underdog Dodgers and Reds respectively.

The team slogged its way through the 1990's but was resurrected again by the tandem of General Manager Billy Beane and field manager Art Howe. It won division titles in 2000-02-03 and a 2001 wild card slot. Although they did not get far in postseason play, they had a bedrock starting staff for those four seasons featuring Tim Hudson (69 wins), Mark Mulder (64 wins) and Barry Zito (61 wins) and later Rich Harden.

They also developed sluggers Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada until both sought more lucrative pastures through free agency, and Eric Chavez. They also won their division in 2006, advancing to the league championship series before losing to Detroit. Overall, the Athletics have a record of success second to the Yankees, with nine world championships, 15 pennants, 13 division titles and one wild card slot — much more than John McGraw ever won. Not bad for a bunch of white elephants.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"Well, you can't win them all." - Hall of Fame Manager Connie Mack in Baseball Bits: Little-Known Stories, Facts, and Trivia from the Dugout to the Outfield (Dan Schlossberg, Alpha Publishing, 05/06/2008, Page 184)

Oakland Athletics History

Oakland Athletics Official Logo

Oakland Athletics Franchise Facts

Philadelphia Athletics 100 Win Seasons
Year Record Manager
1910 102-48 Connie Mack
1911 101-50 Connie Mack
1929 104-46 Connie Mack
1930 102-52 Connie Mack
1931 107-45 Connie Mack
Oakland Athletics 100 Win Seasons
Year Record Manager
1971 101-60 Dick Williams
1988 104-58 Tony LaRussa
1990 103-59 Tony LaRussa
2001 102-60 Art Howe
2002 103-59 Art Howe
Philadelphia Athletics 100 Loss Seasons
Year Record Manager
1915 43-109 Connie Mack
1916 36-117 Connie Mack
1919 36-104 Connie Mack
1920 48-106 Connie Mack
1921 53-100 Connie Mack
1936 53-100 Connie Mack
1940 54-100 Connie Mack
1943 49-105 Connie Mack
1946 49-105 Connie Mack
1950 52-102 Connie Mack
1954 51-103 Eddie Joost
Kansas City Athletics 100 Loss Seasons
Year Record Manager
1956 52-102 Lou Boudreau
1961 61-100 Joe Gordon
Hank Bauer
1964 57-105 Ed Lopat
Mel McGaha
1965 59-103 Mel McGaha
Haywood Sullivan
Oakland Athletics 100 Loss Seasons
Year Record Manager
1979 54-108 Jim Marshall
Oakland Athletics Cy Young Winners
Year Name Position
1971 Vida Blue LHP
1974 Catfish Hunter RHP
1990 Bob Welch RHP
1992 Dennis Eckersley RHP
2002 Barry Zito LHP
Athletics Franchise Retired Numbers
# Name Position
9 Reggie Jackson OF
24 Rickey Henderson OF
27 Catfish Hunter P
34 Rollie Fingers P
42 Jackie Robinson 2B
43 Dennis Eckersley P
Philadelphia Athletics Batting Champions
Year Name #
1901 Nap Lajoie .426
1930 Al Simmons .381
1931 Al Simmons .390
1933 Jimmie Foxx .356
1951 Ferris Fain .344
1952 Ferris Fain .327
Oakland Athletics Batting Champions
Year Name #
-- -- --
Philadelphia Athletics ERA Champions
Year Name #
1905 Rube Waddell 1.48
1909 Harry Krause 1.39
1926 Lefty Grove 2.51
1929 Lefty Grove 2.81
1930 Lefty Grove 2.54
1931 Lefty Grove 2.06
1932 Lefty Grove 2.84
Oakland Athletics ERA Champions
Year Name #
1970 Diego Segui 2.56
1971 Vida Blue 1.82
1974 Catfish Hunter 2.49
1981 Steve McCatty 2.32
1994 Steve Ontiveros 2.65
Philadelphia Athletics Strikeout Champions
Year Name #
1902 Rube Waddell 210
1903 Rube Waddell 302
1904 Rube Waddell 349
1905 Rube Waddell 287
1906 Rube Waddell 196
1907 Rube Waddell 232
1925 Lefty Grove 116
1926 Lefty Grove 194
1927 Lefty Grove 174
1928 Lefty Grove 183
1929 Lefty Grove 170
1930 Lefty Grove 209
1931 Lefty Grove 175
Oakland Athletics Strikeout Champions
Year Name #
-- -- --
Oakland Athletics Wild Cards
Year Record Manager
2001 102-60 Art Howe
2018 97-65 Bob Melvin
2019 97-65 Bob Melvin
Philadelphia Athletics A.L. Pennants
Year Record Manager
1902 83-53 Connie Mack
1905 92-56 Connie Mack
1910 102-48 Connie Mack
1911 101-50 Connie Mack
1913 96-57 Connie Mack
1914 99-53 Connie Mack
1929 104-46 Connie Mack
1930 102-52 Connie Mack
1931 107-45 Connie Mack
Oakland Athletics A.L. Pennants
Year Record Manager
1972 93-62 Dick Williams
1973 94-68 Dick Williams
1974 90-72 Alvin Dark
1988 104-58 Tony LaRussa
1989 99-63 Tony LaRussa
1990 103-59 Tony LaRussa
Philadelphia Athletics World Championships
Year Opponent M.V.P.
1910 Chicago n/a
1911 New York n/a
1913 New York n/a
1929 Chicago n/a
1930 St. Louis n/a
Oakland Athletics World Championships
Year Opponent M.V.P.
1972 Cincinnati Gene Tenace
1973 New York Reggie Jackson
1974 Los Angeles Rollie Fingers
1989 San Francisco Dave Stewart
Philadelphia Athletics Team Statistics Tool
Includes Hitting, Pitching & Fielding Stats
Kansas City Athletics Team Statistics Tool
Includes Hitting, Pitching & Fielding Stats
Oakland Athletics Team Statistics Tool
Includes Hitting, Pitching & Fielding Stats
Oakland Athletics Franchise Facts At-A-Glance
baseball almanac flat baseball

baseball almanac fast facts

On June 14, 1969 , the Oakland Athletics set a team record for hits during a game with twenty-five versus the Boston Red Sox .

Did you know that the Oakland Athletics set a team record for runs scored during an inning on July 5, 1996 , with thirteen versus the California Angels in the first (1st) inning?

The Oakland Athletics, on April 6, 1982 , set a new team record for attendance during an Opening Day game when 51,513 fans watched them defeat the California Angels 3-2

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