The Oakland A’s started in 1968 when Team Owner, Charlie Finley, moved the team from Kansas City when a brand new Oakland Coliseum beckoned the A’s looking to move from the outdated Kans City Municipal stadium. The Oakland A’s would start off with a bang with Catfish Hunter’s No-Hitter in the second game of the season in 1968. The A’s would become one of the most successful teams of the 1970’s as being the only non-Yankee team win three World Series in a row from 1972-1974. In the subsequent years, the A’s would struggle with attendance and free agency as Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, and Rollie Fingers to name a few would move on more lucrative contracts.
In 1980, it looked like the A’s were on their way out when the team was looking to be sold to Marvin Davis who would move the team to Denver, but a suitor for the A’s was found an iron-clad lease kept the team in Oakland. Walter A. Haas, a San Francisco Native, Cal’s favorite son, and of the Levi Strauss empire, would go on to purchase the A’s to keep the team in Oakland. It was a new decade and the A’s would go onto a renaissance with Rickey Henderson emerging as Oakland’s Hometown Hero and the Man of Steal. Rickey with his enigmatic personality and a penchant for talking about himself in the third person would be one of the key figures to lead the A’s to another Championship in the Bay Bridge Series against the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, the World Series was marred by the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Sadly the squad led by Tony LaRussa with Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Dave Stewart, and Bob Welch would only win one World Championship for Oakland despite three World Series appearances.
With Haas in ill health, the team was once again up for sale in 1995. Bay Area natives, Steve Schott and Ken Hoffman purchased the team at a hometown discount to keep the team in Oakland. Despite the pretense of keeping the team in Oakland, the new owners flirted with trying to move the team to the South Bay scouting out locations in Santa Clara and San Jose. While on the field, the team would shed it’s veteran players and eventually develop a home-grown team led by Billy Beane with the likes of the Big Three of Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, and Mark Mulder, the triumvirate of three successful starting pitchers, the swinging swagger of Jason Giambi, and the best glovemen of Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada into the new millennium. Sadly, the teams were filled with talent but could not be kept together due to budget constraints. As 2005 approached, the team was for sale again. Lew Wolff and John Fisher of the Gap empire would purchase the team and would go on to demolish the fanbase and would openly court the South Bay for a new stadium and Fremont. With the San Francisco Giants territorial rights rearing its head, the A’s were not able to move the team to the South Bay and with MLB’s Anti-Trust Exemption, the Athletics were not able to challenge the territorial rights.
With Lew Wolff growing frustrated with his elusive quest to move the A’s to San Jose, he would sell his share of the team in 2016. The impending revenue sharing being cutoff, John Fisher and the A’s realized that the team’s destiny and future lay within Oakland. Under going a renaissance with economic revitalization in the Bay Area, the timing was right for the Oakland Athletics to embrace their own market. The A’s brought on San Jose Earthquakes President Dave Kaval to head the team with Mike Crowley being ousted. Dave Kaval has brought a reinvigorated fanbase back to the Coliseum and enhancing the fan experience with Food Trucks at Championship Plaza to renaming the Coliseum Rickey Henderson field for Oakland’s native son! The next chapter of Oakland history is being written as the team looks to announcing the new site of the team and ballpark later in the Fall of 2017. Let’s Go Oakland!