Sunday, April 1, 2007

KansasCity - Oakland Athletics

While doing a crossword puzzle the clue was: First AL reliever with 30 saves in a season (1966
Kansas City A's)..The answer is Jack Aker.

So I looked at that 1966 roster and on it was a 20 year-old Rick Monday, 20 year-old Jim "Catfish" Hunter, 21 year-old John Blue Moon Odom and 22 year-old Sal Bando.

In 1967, Reggie Jackson, Dave Duncan and Joe Rudi joined the fold. All of these players (Monday, Hunter, Odom, Bando, Jackson, Duncan and Rudi) came up from the A's farm system.

In 1968, the Kansas City Athletics moved west to Oakland and a 21-year old named Rollie Fingers was added to the roster, also via farm system. The A's posted an W82 L80 season and you could see the team was coming together.

In 1969 the A's were W88 L74 ..Traded Danny Cater to Yankees for Al Dowling

In 1970 the A's were W89 L73. They added a 20-year Vida Blue to the roster from their farm system as well. That year they had 3 pitchers combine to hit 10 homers. 5 for John Blue Moon Odom, 4 for Lew Krausse and 1 for Catfish Hunter. Also, Gene Tenace joined the fold, again from their minor league farm system.

In 1971, the A's traded Rick Monday to the Cubs for Ken Holtzman and they went on to become Western Division champs with a W-101 L-60 season. They also traded Don Mincher, Paul Lindblad and Frank Fernandez to the Washington Senators for Mike Epstein and Darold Knowles.

That year Vida Blue was the MVP and Cy Young award winner. The A's were on their way.

In 1972, 1973 and 1974 they would win the World Series title.
The team was made up largely from their farm system, something they have always had together.

How else do you lose a Jason Giambi, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, Miguel Tejada and most recently Barry Zito and still compete for the division title? Their farm system, like the Los Angeles Dodgers, is unparalleled and that is why both organizations have a gluttony of talent in which to offer when a superstar is being shopped around. Also, because they are chock-full of talent they can get by without offering huge contracts to players because they know they have someone waiting in the wings, ready to show their wares at the major league level.

Kevin Marquez