Athletics All-Time Team v.2012

Rolling right along, we're looking at the 2012 version of the Athletics All-Time team.

The A's have spent time in three cities - Philadelphia (1901-1954), Kansas City (1954-1968 and Oakland (1968-present) and our All-Time team is comprised of players from each of those periods.

The A's of the early 1900's were very good, winning six AL pennants and three World Series championships before 1920.  Overall, the A's have won 15 AL pennants, which is good enough for second most (trailing only the Yankees)... very impressive.

There have been a lot of great players with meaningful moments in the history of this franchise so picking a team that represents the franchise is not easy. 

In additiona to our normal review, we had to add an infielder and two starting pitchers to last year's team (which can be seen here). 

We picked Bert Campaneris for the infielder (a point of contention last year was not including him over Miguel Tejada).  Surprisingly, Campy is the A's all-time hits leader and although his numbers don't suggest Hall of Fame, he's highly regarded among the A's faithful.

For the spots in our rotation, we considered a host of players and you'll see that our pre-1920 exception rule came into play.  Among the names we considered - Eddie Plank, Vida BlueDave Stewart, Ken Holtzman, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Chief Bender and Eddie Rommel.  We didn't give Rommel serious consideration because he spent a lot of time pitching in relief.  We also decided that Chief Bender was not worthy of a pre-1920 exception (even though he's a Hall of Famer).  From there, it really came down to four names for us; Eddie Plank, Vida Blue, Dave Stewart and Tim Hudson.  Plank being the all-time franchise wins leader bolstered the he is deserving of an exception.  He ranks third all-time among lefties in wins and amassed 69.5 WAR as member of the Philadelphia A's (anchoring the rotation to four pennants and two World Series championships) so Plank made the team.  There was some back and forth about Vida Blue and Dave Stewart.  Stewart's postseason heroics make him a huge part of A's history.  He has a World Series MVP and two league championship MVP's.  He's also on the short list of names of player with four consecutive 20-win seasons (only Tom Glavine and Roger Clemens * have accomplished the feat since Stewart).  That beins said, when you look at the numbers and the body of work, you can't help but give Vida Blue the edge... feel free to check out the comparison sheet below.

Here's our team.  Tell us what you think.

C - Mickey Cochrane
1B - Jimmie Foxx
2B - Eddie Collins
SS - Miguel Tejada
3B - Sal Bando
IF - Bert Campaneris
OF - Al Simmons
OF - Reggie Jackson
OF - Indian Bob Johnson
OF/DH - Rickey Henderson
SP - Lefty Grove
SP - Catfish Hunter
SP - Eddie Plank
SP - Vida Blue
RP - Rollie Fingers

2 comments:

  1. My suprise with this line up is the exclusion of Frank "Home Run" Baker. While yes he is a pre-1920's player, he is and was regarded as one of the greatest third baseman of all time and played 7 of his 13 years with the Philadelphia A's. He and Eddie Collins were the two keystone players of Connie Mack's $100,000 infield which, according to Bill James, ranks as the #1 greatest infield of all time. Other than that, very solid list.

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  2. Thanks somuch for commenting, Charley. As you know, we don't generally make exceptions for pre-1920 players unless they're truly exceptional, deserving of the exception... that is, if no other options exist, if the player is an ALL-TIME great (think Christy Mathewson) or if they were just so much better than any alternative that we couldn't overlook them. In the case of Bando vs. Baker, I'd say Baker's best argument for an exception would be as an all-time great. By most accounts, he's a top 10 all-time third baseman but it would be a stretch to say he's top-5 (he wouldn't crack my list). Even so, he spent almost as much time in NY, as a Yankee, as he did in Philadelphia, as an Athletic. Bando was a A's fixture for much longer and although I have no way of validating this, I'd bet that most A's fans would argue that he belongs. This is a very hard team to crack... Bando is probably the weak link but he was no slouch... 127 OPS+, 6.5 dWAR as an A, three top-5 MVP finishes... at the end of the day, there's an argument to be made for Bando and I don't really think that Baker deserves that pre-1920 exception because of that.

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