Over the course of the next month, LWOSports will be breaking down the top five MLB players in franchise history for all 30 teams. This article will rank the top five Oakland Athletics players from least to best by who had the biggest impact for the team. You can check out the other series articles here.
Top Five Oakland Athletics Players in Franchise History
5. Mark McGwire
Mark McGwire‘s career with Oakland was great, to say the least. In 12 seasons, McGwire would be a 9x All-Star and lead the league in HRs twice. In his first season, he won AL Rookie of the Year and would go on to hit 363 home runs before eventually landing with the Cardinals in the 1997 season. Although his career has been tainted due to the MLB Steroid Scandal, McGwire is one of the greatest hitters of all time and should be inducted into the Hall of Fame one day.
4. Catfish Hunter
Jim “Catfish” Hunter played a key role for the dominant Oakland A’s in the mid-70s. One of the best pitchers of all time, Hunter dealt a 3.13 ERA in his time with Oakland, winning 161 games. In 1974 he won the AL Cy Young Award as well as the World Series. However, the following year Catfish would sign with the New York Yankees in what was the largest contract in MLB History at the time.
3. Dennis Eckersley
Dennis Eckersley is, simply put, one of the greatest overall pitchers in modern day baseball. After dominating the league for many years in Cleveland and Boston, he would end up in Oakland where he would spend the next nine seasons as a closer. Eckersley put up a 2.74 ERA with 320 saves in that time span, leading the league in the latter twice. The highlight of his time in Oakland was the 1992 season in which Eck won the Cy Young Award as well as AL-MVP.
2. Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson would spend nine seasons in Oakland, achieving All-Star status six-times, and winning league MVP in 1973. He led the AL in both HR’ s and Runs twice. Jackson was a vital part of the A’s World Series run from 1972-1974 and would win WS MVP in 1973. Reggie Jackson was, arguably, the greatest offensive player for the A’s during 1970s70’s. He is also widely regarded as one of the highest performing postseason players in MLB history.
1. Rickey Henderson
I mean, was it going to be anybody else? Rickey Henderson is, was, and will forever be, dominant. He is the greatest leadoff hitter of all time and the most skilled base runner baseball has ever seen. In his 14 seasons with the A’s, Henderson was a seven-time All-Star and led the MLB in stolen bases nine times. He holds the all time records for runs with 2,295, and stolen bases, 1,406. Henderson also holds the record for most stolen bases in a single season with only 130. He would win his only World Series with the A’s in 1989, and Al-MVP in 1990 to top off a magical career in Oakland.
Oakland has seen some incredibly talented players throughout the course of their history. The Oakland A’s of the 1970s will forever remain a classic team with players such as Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson. They have also drafted star players like Rickey Henderson and Mark McGuire, both whom had fantastic careers not only in Oakland, but in the MLB in general. This is due to fantastic managing on all fronts. To this day, the Athletics continue to be one of the best-managed teams in baseball, and it won’t be long before they are back in the World Series.
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