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Category Archives: Oakland A’s

Dick Williams – 1973 Topps #179


Richard Hirschfeld “Dick” Williams  (May 7, 1929 – July 7, 2011) was an American left fielder, third baseman, manager, coach and front office consultant in Major League Baseball. Known especially as a hard-driving, sharp-tongued manager from 1967 to 1969 and from 1971 to 1988, he led teams to three American League pennants, one National League pennant, and two World Series triumphs. He is one of seven managers to win pennants in both major leagues, and joined Bill McKechnie in becoming only the second manager to lead three franchises to the Series. He and Lou Piniella are the only managers in history to lead four teams to seasons of 90 or more wins. Williams was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 following his election by the Veterans Committee.
In 1973, the A’s coasted to a division title, then defeated Baltimore in the ALCS and the NL champion New York Mets in the World Series, each hard-fought series going the limit. With their World Series win, Oakland became baseball’s first repeat champion since the 1961–62 New York Yankees. But Williams had a surprise for Finley. Tired of his owner’s meddling, and upset by Finley’s public humiliation of second baseman Mike Andrews for his fielding miscues during the World Series, Williams resigned. George Steinbrenner, then finishing his first season as owner of the Yankees, immediately signed Williams as his manager. However, Finley protested that Williams owed Oakland the final year of his contract and could not manage anywhere else, and so Steinbrenner hired Bill Virdon instead. Williams was the first manager in A’s franchise history to leave the team with a winning record after running it for two full seasons.
Dick Williams died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm at a hospital near his home in Henderson, Nevada on July 7, 2011.

Vida Blue – 1973 Topps #430

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   Vida Rochelle Blue, Jr.(born July 28, 1949) is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. During a 17-year career, he pitched for the Oakland Athletics (1969–77), San Francisco Giants (1978–81; 1985–86), and Kansas City Royals (1982–83) He won the American League Cy Young award and Most Valuable Player Award in 1971. He is a six-time all-star, and is one of only four pitchers in major league history to start the all-star game for both the American League (1971) and the National League (1978); Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay would later duplicate the feat. Blue was a power pitcher that worked fast and pounded the strike zone. He possessed a breaking curveball that he threw on occasion and an above average change-up, but his signature pitch was a blistering fastball that dialed up to nearly 100 miles per hour. In The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, all-time hits leader Pete Rose stated that Blue ‘threw as hard as anyone’ he had ever faced, and baseball historian Bill James cited Blue as the hardest-throwing lefty, and the second hardest thrower of his era, behind only Nolan Ryan. Blue battled drug addiction over the course of his career. After the 1983 season, he and former teammates Willie Wilson, Jerry Martin and Willie Aikens pleaded guilty to attempting to purchase cocaine. In 1985, he testified in the Pittsburgh drug trials. Blue also made a name and career after baseball for himself in the San Francisco Bay Area by donating his time to many charitable causes, mostly promoting baseball in the inner city. In 1971, Blue accompanied Bob Hope on his USO Christmas tour of Vietnam and other military installations. Vida currently lives in San Francisco, CA and is active in promoting the sport of baseball.

Ted Kubiak – 1973 Topps #652

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   Theodore Rodger Kubiak (born May 12, 1942 in New Brunswick, New Jersey) is a former switch-hitting infielder for  the Oakland Athletics, the Milwaukee Brewers, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Texas Rangers, and the San Diego Padres. He was a member of the Oakland Athletics teams that won three World Series in a row (1972–74). Kubiak still holds the Brewers’ record for most RBI in a single game, seven (later equalled by Jose Hernandez and Richie Sexson), which he set at Boston on July 18, 1970, the team’s first year in Milwaukee. The record is all the more remarkable given that Kubiak was not known for his batting.
Kubiak reentered baseball as a manager and took over as skipper of the Modesto A’s in mid-1989 from Lenn Sakata. He remained in Modesto for four more years before joining the Cleveland Indians organization in 1994. Kubiak managed the Canton-Akron Indians in 1994 and 1995, then moved down to the New York-Penn League for five years. He was with the Watertown Indians from 1996 to 1998, and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 1999 and 2000. He moved up to the Columbus RedStixx in 2001, the Kinston Indians in 2002, then returned to Mahoning Valley in 2003. From 2004 to 2008 he was the minor league defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Indians. In 2009 he returned to managing with the Arizona Extended League Indians, and in 2010 managed the Lake County Captains to the Midwest League Championship. Kubiak is a graduate of Highland Park, New Jersey High School, class of 1960.

Gene Tenace – 1973 Topps #524

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   Fury Gene Tenace (born October 10, 1946) baseball player and current coach in Major League Baseball. He was a catcher and first baseman from 1969 through 1983. Tenace was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics from Valley High School in Lucasville, OH and played for the Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He batted and threw right-handed. Tenace was one of the top catchers of his era and won the 1972 World Series Most Valuable Player Award. He was known for his power, especially versus right-handed pitching.
In a 15 year career, Tenace played in 1555 games, accumulating 1060 hits in 4390 at bats for a .241 career batting average along with 201 home runs, 674 runs batted in and an on base percentage of .388. He not only caught nearly 900 games, but also played first base over 600 times. Tenace ended his career with a .986 fielding percentage as a catcher and a .993 fielding percentage as a first baseman. He reached 20 home runs in five of his seven seasons as a regular, with a high of 29 in 1975. After becoming an everyday player in 1973, he did not have an on-base average below .370 until his final year; his OBP was above .400 five times and over .390 (about 60 points above the league average) an additional three times, ending his career with an impressive .388 on base percentage. Six times he drew more than 100 bases on balls, and he led his league twice. He set the American League record for having the lowest batting average while leading the league in walks in 1974 when he posted a .211 batting average with a league-leading 110 walks. In 1977, he had a .415 on base percentage while posting a .233 batting average, the second lowest batting average with a .400 on base percentage in major league history. Less than half of his career trips to first base came via base hits, reaching 1,075 times through walks (984) and being hit by pitches (91) as opposed to only 1,060 hits.
Chuck Rosciam, a Baseball historian and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, believes that Tenace deserves a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Using six offensive measures: Average, On-base percentage, Slugging, RBIs, Runs created and Win shares—all League-Era adjusted, Rosciam ranks Tenace sixth offensively behind Mickey Cochrane, Mike Piazza, Bill Dickey, Gabby Hartnett and Joe Torre among catchers. Tenace is tied for third in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) with Johnny Bench and Torre. He’s only behind Roy Campanella and Yogi Berra.

Mike Epstein – 1973 Topps #38


Michael Peter Epstein(born April 4, 1943 in the Bronx, New York), nicknamed SuperJew, is a former Major League Baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Senators, Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers, and California Angels from 1966–1974. The first baseman was noted as a strong power hitter who did not hit for a high batting average, though he walked (and was hit by pitches) so often that he finished with a respectable career .359 on base percentage. Epstein played baseball at the University of California-Berkeley. As a junior in 1963 he hit .375 and was offered a contract by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but his father insisted he finish college. A collegiate All-American in 1964, he was a member of the first U.S. Olympic team that year, and helped them win the gold medal. He was inducted as a member of the United States National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Joe Rudi -1973 Topps #360

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Joseph Oden Rudi (born September 7, 1946 in Modesto, California) is a former left fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the Kansas City & Oakland Athletics (1967–76, 1982), California Angels (1977–80) and Boston Red Sox (1981). He batted and threw right-handed. He currently works in real estate in Baker City, Oregon. Rudi batted a career-high .309 in 1970 and had a career-best 181 hits in 1972. That year, he helped the Athletics win the World Series and made a great game-saving catch in Game 2 that would be the highlight reel for many Major League Baseball films. With Tony Perez on first and Oakland leading 2-0 in the ninth inning, Rudi raced to the left-field fence and made a leaping, backhanded catch of Denis Menke’s smash to save a run. Earlier in the game, Rudi had a solo home run. In 1974 he had a career best 22 home runs and 99 runs batted in and hit a home run in Game 5 of the 1974 World Series off Mike Marshall that would turn out to be the game winner and Series clincher. Rudi’s Athletics became the first team since the 1949-1953 New York Yankees to win 3 straight World Championships.

Oakland A’s 1973 Team Photo – 1973 Topps #500

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The Oakland A’s are a Major League Baseball team based in Oakland, California. The Athletics are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball’s American League. From 1968 to the present, the Athletics have played in the O.co Coliseum. One of the American League’s eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics. The team had some prominent success in Philadelphia, winning three of four World Series from 1910 to 1914 (the “First Dynasty”) and two in a row in 1929 and 1930 (the “Second Dynasty”). The team’s owner and manager for its first 50 years was Connie Mack, and its Hall-of-Fame players included Chief Bender, Frank “Home Run” Baker, Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Grove. After two decades of decline, however, the team left Philadelphia for Kansas City in 1955 and became the Kansas City Athletics. After 13 mostly uneventful seasons in the Midwest, the team moved to Oakland in 1968. There a “Third Dynasty” soon emerged, with three World Championships in a row from 1972 to 1974 led by players including Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson, and colorful owner Charlie O. Finley. Finally, a “Fourth Dynasty” won three consecutive pennants and the 1989 World Series behind Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and Dennis Eckersley. In more recent years, the A’s have often been playoff contenders but have not returned to the World Series since 1990. In 2002, the A’s won 20 games in a row which broke an AL record, as shown in the film Moneyball.

Mark McGwire – 1991 Donruss #105

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Mark McGwire (born October 1, 1963), nicknamed “Big Mac”, is an American former professional baseball player who played his major league career with the Oakland Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals. He is currently the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. For his career, McGwire averaged a home run once every 10.61 at bats, the lowest at bats per home run ratio in baseball history (Babe Ruth is second at 11.80). In 1987, he broke the single-season home run record for rookies, with 49. In 1998, McGwire and Sammy Sosa achieved national fame for their home run-hitting prowess in pursuit of Roger Maris’ single season home run record; McGwire broke the record and hit 70 home runs that year. Barry Bonds now holds the record, after hitting 73 home runs during the 2001 season. In 2005, McGwire and Canseco were among 11 baseball players and executives subpoenaed to testify at a congressional hearing on steroids. During his testimony on March 17, 2005, McGwire declined to answer questions under oath when he appeared before the House Government Reform Committee. On January 11, 2010, McGwire admitted to using steroids on and off for a decade and said, “I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.” He admitted using them in the 1989/90 offseason and then after he was injured in 1993. He admitted using them on occasion throughout the ’90s, including during the 1998 season. McGwire stated that he used steroids to recover from injuries. McGwire’s decision to admit using steroids was prompted by his decision to become hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. According to McGwire, he took steroids for health reasons rather than to improve performance.

Rollie Fingers – 1973 Topps #84

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Roland Glen Fingers(born August 25, 1946) is a former Major League Baseball relief pitcher. During his 18-year baseball career, he pitched for the Oakland Athletics (1968–76), San Diego Padres (1977–80) and Milwaukee Brewers (1981–85). He became only the second reliever to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992. Fingers is also one of only a few MLB players to have his number retired by more than one club (Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers).

Orlando Cepeda – 1973 Topps #545

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Orlando Manuel Cepeda Pennes  (Spanish pronunciation: [orˈlando seˈpeða]; born September 17, 1937) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman.
Cepeda was born to a poor family. His father, Pedro Cepeda, was a baseball player in Puerto Rico, which influenced his interest in the sport from a young age. His first contact with professional baseball was as a batboy for the Santurce Crabbers of Puerto Rico. Pedro Zorilla, the team’s owner persuaded his family to let him attend a New York Giants tryout. He played for several Minor League Baseball teams before attracting the interest of the Giants, who had just moved to San Francisco.
During a career that lasted sixteen years, he played with the San Francisco Giants (1958–66), St. Louis Cardinals (1966–68), Atlanta Braves (1969–72), Oakland Athletics (1972), Boston Red Sox (1973), and Kansas City Royals (1974). Cepeda was selected to play in seven Major League Baseball All-Star Games during his career, becoming the first player from Puerto Rico to start one. In 1987, Cepeda was contracted by the San Francisco Giants to work as a scout and “goodwill ambassador.” In 1999, Cepeda was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

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