this post covers the 1972 oakland a's and cards numbered 80 to 84 in the set. here are the fronts:
what team is this?: the 1972 world champion oakland a's
why this team?: the 1972 a's won 93 games and were the first american league west team to appear in the world series. they were only a few years removed from kansas city, and they won the first of three consecutive world championships by defeating the cincinnati reds.
which players are featured?: that would be bert campaneris, john 'blue moon' odom, sal bando, joe rudi, and ken holtzman.
why these players?: we have 2 of the team's starting pitchers who had very good seasons in 1972, and three of their everyday players (each of them all-stars in 1972), including the 1972 american league mvp runner-up.
bert campaneris was the a's all-star shortstop, although he didn't appear in the 1972 midsummer classic (earl weaver let his own shortstop, bobby grich, play the whole game). campaneris led the american league in stolen bases in 1972 with 52, making it the sixth time in eight years that he had led the league in that category. he also led the league in plate appearances, at bats, and sacrifice hits in 1972, and he played in 149 games. in the postseason, he hit .429 in the alcs (although he only played in two of the five games) and then was just 5 for 28 in the world series. to make things worse, he was caught stealing in his only attempt.
blue moon odom was 15-6 with a 2.50 era during the regular season for the a's in 1972. but you knew that because you read the back of his 'memorable moments' card. a card that is really more about the a's winning the world series than it is about any specific blue moon odom moment. of course, his most memorable moment from 1972 would probably be not either of his two starts in the world series (he was 0-1 despite a 1.59 era in 11.1 innings pitched) but rather his pinch running performance in game 5. odom was called upon to pinch run for gene tenace in the bottom of the 9th inning of game 5 with the a's trailing in the game 5-4 but leading the series 3 games to 1. with one out, odom (who was often called upon to pinch run) was on third base and ill-advisedly tried to score on a short pop up that was caught by joe morgan. he was thrown out to end the game but the a's wound up winning the series in 7 games so it's not really remembered like the merkle boner.
sal bando had been the a's everyday third baseman since 1968 - their first year in oakland. he hit 15 homers with 77 rbi in 1972, and was named to the all-star team for the second time in his career. his average dropped to just .236, however, and he had a lackluster postseason to match. in the world series, he hit .269 with just one extra base hit (a double) and a lone rbi.
joe rudi played 147 games in left field for the a's in 1972, and wound up finishing second in the league mvp voting behind dick allen of the white sox. rudi hit .305 with 19 homers and 75 rbi, and also led the league in hits (181) and triples (9). he was named to the all-star team for the first time in his career and went 1 for 1 with a double off of tug mcgraw. however, rudi's only extra base hit of the world series (in which he hit just .260) was a game 3 solo home run that gave the a's the second run in their 2-1 victory.
ken holtzman makes his second appearance on the blog, having been a member of the memorable and timeless 1969 chicago cubs team. as such, he is the first player in the set to be featured on two different timeless teams. holtzman had been acquired in a trade with the cubs for rick monday after the 1971 season ended. in his first year in oakland, holtzman was 19-11 with a 2.51 era in 39 appearances, 37 of which were starts. he had 16 complete games and 4 shutouts. in the postseason, he made two starts and another relief appearance during the world series. he won game 1, got no decision in game 4, and then was called upon in relief in game 7. he took over from catfish hunter with a 3-1 lead and pete rose on first in the 8th inning and promptly served up a double to joe morgan. that was all for holtzman who was replaced by rollie fingers who eventually preserved the win and the championship for the a's.
the stadium on the back is...?: oakland coliseum - known in 1972 as the oakland alameda county coliseum. currently named (but not known as) the o.co coliseum. the a's have played there since moving to oakland in 1968, although the photo used on the cards is almost certainly not from the 1970's.
did upper deck get it right?: this team certainly belongs in the set, but i am still wondering why the 1972 tigers were chosen instead of the 1972 reds. many of the players on the '72 cincinnati team will show up later in the set, so it would have made some sense. anyway, as far as the a's players are concerned, reggie jackson (who was injured in the alcs and missed the world series), rollie fingers, gene tenace (world series mvp) and possibly vida blue should have been no-brainers, and all but reggie are in the set with other teams. that's weird because reggie, at one time at least, had a contract with upper deck.
for the players that were selected by upper deck, the photos seem to be a mixed bag. campaneris' photo is from 1968 as that is the only year the a's went with the 'oakland' text on the front of their sleeveless jerseys. odom's photo is from 1969 thanks to the all green hat and the capital 'a' on his jersey. in 1970, the team went to yellow bills on the hats, and added the apostrophe-s to the jersey fronts. the other three photos could all be legitimately from 1972 (we know holtzman's is no older than 1972) thanks to the different color combinations and the pullover jersey that the a's introduced that season. if i had to guess, however, i would say that the bando and rudi photos are from 1973, as i don't think they were so scruffy in 1972.
is this team timeless?: no doubt. this was a team that started the dynasty (actually, the 1971 team that lost in the alcs to the orioles was the first a's team to make the postseason since the philadelphia days) and won the first championship for the franchise since the days of connie mack.