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1970s Oakland A's: Greatest baseball team ever?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by hockeybeat, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    I was watching Rebels of Oakland on HBO OnDemand, a documentary on the 1970s Raiders, A's and city of Oakland.

    Reggie Jackson said that had free agency not existed, the A's would have won "every World Series until 1980." Sal Bando said that if the A's played in New York, they would have been "the greatest team in baseball."

    For those who saw and covered that team, how true are those statements? How good were those A's teams?
  2. Big Chee

    Big Chee Active Member

    Not if Joe Morgan has anything to say about it.
  3. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Or, if their owner wasn't the biggest cheapskate that ever lived.
  4. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    OK, I didn't cover that team, but I was an avid baseball follower back then and that team had it all: starting pitching, relief pitching, lineup.

    I can't recall the entire lineup, but they had Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue and Ken Holtzman as starters, Rollie Fingers and Darold Knowles in the pen. Bert Campaneris at short, Bando at third, Gene Tenace as catcher/first base, Dick Greene and/or Mike Andrews (when he wasn't suspended for a Worlds Series error) at second. Joe Rudi in left, Reggie Jackson in right, Billy North (I think he was the leadoff hitter) in center. I don't know who was the first baseman when Tenace was catcher or, vice versa, the catcher when Tenace was playing first. I think Rudi played some first, but I could be wrong.

    Winning three straight World Series says a lot, though, and I'm pretty sure they made it to the playoffs the year before and the year after those WS titles. (1971 vs. Detroit, 1975 vs. Boston).
  5. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    I know they made it in 75.
  6. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Five straight AL West titles, 71-75....3 straight WS titles, 72-74.
    As tony said, a team that had it all before Finley's miserly ways and free agency broke it up.
    Definitely one of the best teams of all time over a 5-year period
  7. joe king

    joe king Active Member

    THat was a pretty freakin' great team, certainly as good as the Big Red Machine. They had better pitching than the Reds, maybe not quite as strong offensively.

    I'll still take the '27 Yankees, or those Yankees teams that dominated the '50s (Mickey, Yogi, Whitey, etc.)
  8. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    I think they '71-'75 A's were better than the Big Red Machine becuase of the pitching. And they did beat the Reds in the '72 series.

    The '27-'28 Yanks, the '49-'53 Yanks (five straight WS titles) and the 60-62 Yanks (lost in '60 to Pirates in ninth inning of Game 7, won in '61 and '62) are probably the best.
  9. Colton

    Colton Active Member

    Buck... white courtesy phone, please... Buck...
  10. D-Backs Hack

    D-Backs Hack Guest

    Great topic. Here's the five straight AL West winners:


    I certainly think that these A's are too-unfairly overlooked when the great teams in baseball history are mentioned. tony got the ball rolling, but let's continue looking at roster factoids:

    Starting rotation of Hunter, Blue, Holtzman and whatever fourth guy you wanted to throw in there, and Odom and Hamilton will pretty good options. The bullpen with Fingers and Knowles, who was an All-Star with the Senators before joining the A's, and Paul Lindblad was stellar.

    The infield of Bando, Campaneris, Dick Green and Tenace was of All-Star quality, left to right, Green's hitting deficiencies notwithstanding. The starting catcher in '73 and '74 was Ray Fosse, who -- contrary to legend -- did not have his days as a productive player ended by Pete Rose in the 1970 All-Star Game.

    Outfield of Rudi -- as clutch as players came in the 1970s -- Bill North and Jackson. George Hendrick and Claudell Washington couldn't get playing time, Washington only after North left.

    Jesus Alou and a young Phil Garner were among the bench guys. A team as deep as I can remember -- Oakland beat Cincinnati in 1972, even though its best offensive player, Jackson, missed the entire series with a leg injury.

    The A's had seven players at the '75 All-Star Game by themselves; Hunter made it with the Yankees and Hendrick with the Indians. Many of the principals from these A's teams had All-Star-caliber seasons long after they left Oakland, so it's easy to speculate that the team could have kept winning for the rest of the decade.

    That said, I don't know if the A's, even with Hunter, would have beaten the Red Sox in the '75 ALCS. Boston was a buzz saw in September and early October; Game 2 of the World Series was the first meaningful game it had lost in a while. I think the Red Sox should have beaten the Reds, but the late collapse in Game 2, the Fisk-Armbrister controversy and Bill Lee serving a fat lob pitch to Tony Perez that changed the course of Game 7 helped continue the curse.
  11. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Bando's right about one thing. If this team had played in New York it would be known as the greatest team in baseball history.
  12. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Gotta love Herb Washington, too.
    In 1974: 92 appearances, 29 runs scored, 29 stolen bases, 16 caught stealing, ZERO at-bats.
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