Monday, June 4, 2012

1973 oakland a's

this post covers the 1973 oakland a's and cards numbered 85 to 92 in the set. here are the fronts:
and backs:
not a whole lot of carryover from the players featured with the 1972 a's.  only bando and odom are repeated, even though all of the other players featured last time (bert campaneris, joe rudi, and ken holtzman) were still with the a's in 1973.  and, you've got to love the fact that the copy on the back of north's card says pretty much the same thing as that on the back of tenace's card.

what team is this?:  the world champion 1973 oakland a's

why this team?:  the a's won their second straight world series title in 1973 by defeating the new york mets in 7 games.  they won 94 games in the regular season, and then beat the baltimore orioles in the american league championship series 3 games to 2.

which players are featured?:  billy north, blue moon odom, gene tenace, manny trillo, dick green, rollie fingers, sal bando, and vida blue.

why these players?:  well, there are a few starters (north, tenace, green and bando) along with one of their aces and their closer represented.

billy north was acquired from the cubs after the 1972 season and became the a's starting center fielder.  he played in 146 games and hit .285 while scoring 98 runs - both turned out to be career highs.  he also stole 53 bases (one behind league leader tommy harper), but was caught a league-leading 20 times.  unfortunately, north missed the 1973 postseason due to injury.

blue moon odom, as the back of his card suggests, did not have his best season in 1973.  he started out the season by going 0-5 in his first 6 starts, and at one point, his record stood at 1-9.  he finished up at 5-12 with a 4.49 era.  he was used solely in relief in the postseason, making one appearance in the alcs and two in the world series against the mets, and did not factor in any decisions.

gene tenace, the mvp of the 1972 world series, saw his postseason success carry over to 1973.  he was moved from catcher to first base, and wound up with a line of 24/84/.259 with 101 walks as the back of his card mentions.  tenace continued to get on base in the postseason - he had an obp of .467 in the world series despite having just three hits thanks to 11 bases on balls served up by mets' pitchers.

manny trillo made his big league debut with the a's in 1973.  he appeared in 17 games for oakland (fewer than vic davalillo - why wasn't he included in the set?) and hit just .250 with 3 hits, including 2 doubles.  he did not appear in the postseason in 1973.

a holdover from the kansas city days, dick green was the a's starting second baseman again in 1973 after having missed most of the 1972 campaign.  he hit .262 in the regular season, but struggled in the playoffs and world series, managing just a single hit in each series, despite starting every contest.

rollie fingers was 7-8 with 22 saves and a stellar 1.92 era in 1973.  he pitched in 62 games and averaged just over 2 innings per appearance.  that number is slightly skewed by the fact that fingers made the final two starts of his career in 1973, going 6 innings in the first and 1.2 innings in the second.  he was the losing pitcher in each of the games, although he allowed a total of one earned run in those 7.2 innings pitched.  fingers was named to the all-star team for the first time in 1973, and he pitched a scoreless inning against the national league.  he pitched well in the postseason, too, earning a save in the alcs (along with a loss) and two saves in the world series while pitching in 5 of the 7 games.  fingers took the loss in game 2 of the series thanks to a willie mays single with two outs in the top of the 12th inning, but he was back on the mound to finish out the a's championship in game 7.

sal bando had another solid season for the a's in 1973.  the third baseman played in all 162 games, and led the league in doubles and total bases.  he also hit 29/98/.287, made the all-star team, and finished 4th in the league mvp voting.  he hit just .167 in the alcs, but did homer twice.  in the world series, bando had a double and a triple, but no homers as he hit .231 with 5 runs scored.

in 1973, vida blue bounced back from his "poor" showing in 1972 (he was 6-10 despite a 2.80 era) to win 20 games for the second time in his career.  his record stood at 20-9 with a 3.28 era in 37 starts.  blue pitched 13 complete games with 4 shutouts.  he finished the season strong, winning 11 of his final 14 starts.  that strong finish did not translate into postseason success, however, as the a's lost all 4 of the games blue started after the end of the regular season.  he was 0-1 in each series, and his alcs era was over 10!

the stadium on the back is...?:  the oakland alameda county stadium as it was known back then.

did upper deck get it right?: the 1973 a's certainly belong in the set.  the players upper deck chose, on the other hand...

ken holtzman would have been a better repeat subject than blue moon odom, and both bert campaneris and joe rudi would have made sense to have carried over from 1972 as well.  manny trillo is clearly a checklist grab by virtue of his appearance as a phillie later in the set.  and, once again, reggie jackson's absence is puzzling, especially with him being the 1973 american league and world series mvp.

for those that were included, the photos for tenace, green, bando, and blue are from 1971 at the latest - the last year the a's wore the sleeveless jerseys.  the green photo is probably from the kansas city days given the fact that his hat lacks a logo - a trick that topps perfected in the late 1960's when the team made its move.

the other photos are quite possibly from 1973, and trillo's is definitely from 1973 or 1974 - his only years with the team.

the stadium is correct, although the photo is much more recent than 1973.

is this team timeless?:  yes.  this team won a second consecutive title, and any team that can repeat is worthy being known as a timeless team.


  1. Got a little behind on your posts. Love those Swingin' A's.

  2. I would say they are a timeless team with the big names and two straight championships.

  3. Without a doubt a timeless team. Some very big names, the swining A's and 3 straight world series victories - gotta be the best team of the 70s.

  4. Agree with those above: this is a timeless team for me. Personally, when I was little my dad always held them up as THE symbol of excellence in baseball, particularly Blue.