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A Press Democrat Blog

Old School

Robert Rubino connects current sports news with the past

Dick Williams, R.I.P.

Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams died Thursday at 82.  Williams has to hold a special spot in the memories of old-school Oakland A’s fans. When he guided the A’s to the 1972 World Series championship, it was the first major pro sports title in the Bay Area. Then he did it again in 1973. He was the only manager to work for irascible owner Charlie Finley for more than two consecutive seasons. But Williams did something else even more… Read More »

Bay Bridge World Series in 2011?

We’ve had only one Bay Bridge World Series, in 1989, but four other times both teams made the playoffs and therefore gave us the potential for others. 1971. Giants won the playoff opener against Pittsburgh, but then lost three in a row. The A’s were swept in three games by Baltimore. 2000. Giants again won the playoff opener, this time against the Mets, but again lost three in a row. The A’s lost Game 5 of the five-game playoff series… Read More »

Chuck Tanner’s Oakland A’s

Chuck Tanner, who died Friday at 82, is known for managing the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series championship. But I like to remember him for his one season managing the Oakland Athletics. The A’s had won five straight division titles under Dick Williams and Alvin Dark when Charlie Finley hired Tanner for the 1976 season. Finley had just traded Reggie Jackson to the Baltimore Orioles, but Tanner still managed to win 87 games. More interestingly, he led one… Read More »

A’s should go beyond Wall of Fame

Sure, the Oakland Athletics honor their Hall of Famers by displaying their names and retired numbers — Hunter, Fingers, Jackson, Eckersley and Rickey Henderson. But there are A’s players who may not be Hall of Famers but who contributed greatly to the team’s illustrious history. An Oakland A’s Wall of Fame would certainly include Bert Campaneris, the base-stealing shortstop and leadoff sparkplug of the A’s three consecutive World Series championship teams, 1972-74; and Vida Blue, the American League’s MVP and… Read More »

Making a BASHOF nomination

It was good to see that Raiders owner Al Davis was finally inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame. I’d like to make a nomination to BASHOF: Alvin Dark. Dark managed the Giants from 1961-64 and led them to the 1962 World Series. Dark managed the Oakland A’s from 1974-75, and led them to the World Series championship in ’74. I noticed ex-Giants manager Bill Rigney is in the BASHOF, and Rigney didn’t win anything. Dark won big… Read More »

All-time A’s home openers: No. 3

In a countdown to the 2010 baseball season, Old School blog is running brief descriptions of the most significant home openers in the history of the Oakland A’s and SF Giants — one a day, a total of five for each team. We already started with the A’s, picking the 1981 opener at No. 5 and the 2002 opener at No. 4. Next up: No. 3.  April 5, 2010. Mariners at Oakland. That’s right, this season’s opener is symbolically significant… Read More »

All-time A’s home openers: No. 4

In a countdown to the 2010 baseball season, Old School blog will run brief descriptions of the most significant home openers in the history of the Oakland A’s and SF Giants — one a day, a total of five for each team. We already started with the A’s, picking the 1981 opener at No. 5. Next up: No. 4. April 1, 2002. Texas Rangers at Oakland. Attendance 43,908. This was the first game played following an offseason in which commissioner… Read More »

Best all-time A’s pitching staff

Spring-training stories are already calling this year’s Oakland A’s pitching staff perhaps the best in the AL. Which staff would you call the Athletics’ best ever since moving to Oakland 42 years ago? Here are my picks: 1971-73. These staffs were anchored by Vida Blue and Catfish Hunter. Ken Holtzman was a major contributor in 1972-73. Rollie Fingers was the closer but several other relievers got plenty of save opportunities. A remarkable run of pitching excellence. 1988-90: Another sensational three-year… Read More »