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Oakland Athletics Team Page
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2008 Oakland Athletics Schedule
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Oakland Athletics History
One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1901. Then the Philadelphia Athletics, the team moved to Kansas City in 1955 and became the Kansas City Athletics. It was not until 1968 that the team moved to Oakland. They are most prominently nicknamed "the A's", in reference to the blackletter "A", a trademark of the team and the old Athletic of Philadelphia. This has gained very prominent use, and in some circles is used more frequently than the full "Athletics" name. They are also known as "the White Elephants" or simply "the Elephants", in reference to then New York Giants' manager John McGraw's calling the team a "white elephant". This was embraced by the team, who then made a white elephant the team's mascot, and often incorporated it into the logo or sleeve patches.
On March 30, 2005, the Athletics were sold to a group headed by real estate developer Lewis Wolff. Wolff, though a Los Angeles businessman, he had successfully developed many real estate projects in and around San Jose. The previous ownership had retained Wolff to help them find an adequate parcel on which to construct a new stadium. Because of Wolff's background, rumors that he wanted to move the team to San Jose surfaced periodically upon his purchase of the team. However, any such plans were always complicated by the claims of the cross-bay San Francisco Giants that they own the territorial rights to San Jose and Santa Clara County.
In 2005, many pundits picked the Athletics to finish last as a result of Beane's dismantling of the Big Three. At first, the experts appeared vindicated, as the A's were mired in last place on May 31 with a 19–32 (.373) won-loss record. After that the team began to gel, playing at a .622 clip for the remainder of the season, eventually finishing 88–74 (.543), seven games behind the newly-renamed Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and for many weeks seriously contending for the AL West crown.
Pitcher Huston Street was voted the A.L. Rookie of the Year in 2005, the second year in a row an Athletic won that award, shortstop Bobby Crosby having won in 2004. For the fifth straight season, third baseman Eric Chavez won the A.L. Gold Glove Award at that position.
The 2006 season brought the A's back to the postseason after a two year absence. After finishing the season at 93-69, four games ahead of the Angels, the A's were considered the underdog against the highly favored Minnesota Twins. The A's swept the series 3-0 however, despite having to start on the road and losing second baseman Mark Ellis, who sustained a broken finger after getting hit by a pitch in the second game. Their victory was short-lived though, as the A's were swept 4-0 by the Detroit Tigers. Manager Ken Macha was fired by Billy Beane on October 16th, four days after their loss in the 2006 American League Championship Series. Beane cited a disconnect between him and his players as well as a general unhappiness among the team as the reason for his sudden departure.
Macha was replaced by bench coach and former major league catcher Bob Geren. Following the 2006 season, the A's also lost ace Barry Zito to the Giants due to free agency. They also lost their DH and MVP candidate Frank Thomas to free agency but filled his role with future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza for 2007. Piazza, a lifetime National League player, agreed to become a full-time DH for the first time in his career.
The 2007 season was a disappointing season for the A's as they suffered from injuries to several key players Rich Harden, Huston Street, Eric Chavez, and Mike Piazza. For the first time since the 1998 season, the A's finished with a losing record.
Information excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakland_athletics. All Rights Reserved.
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