Sunday, January 25, 2015

1980 Oakland A’s (2nd): 83-79, 14GB

Full disclosure the Oakland A's teams from 1980 and 1981 were perhaps one of my favorites ever.  Billy Ball was alive and well on the coast.  At just 21 years of age and in his first full season Rickey Henderson (.303-9-53) stole 100 bases and scored 111 runs.  The "Man of Steal" had an incredible (for that time) .420 OBP.  Rickey was a one man wrecking crew who turned walks into triples with his uncanny ability to swipe bases.  Alongside him in the outfield was power hitting Tony Armas (.279-35-109) and gold glover Dwyane Murphy (.274-13-68-26SB).  The A's had themselves one heck of an outfield.  Rickey and Murphy executed Billy Ball to perfection.  Rickey could steal and Murph could bunt (22 sacs).  The infield was average at best, but Billy was able to get the most ou of these guys.  The young pitching staff was tops in the league.  Mike Norris (22-9, 2.53) had a Cy Young type year and he was just 25.  Rick Langford (19-12, 3.26) and Matt Keough (16-13, 2.92) could easily have been 20 game winners with a few more tallies.  The issue here was that Martin worked these young arms to death and with 2-3 years all would develop arm trouble.  This staff delivered an incredible 94 complete games.  Langford posted 290 innings.  Norris had 284.  The other 3 starters were all over 200 innings, which was unheard of even for that day an age.  Brian Kingman (8-20, 3.83) somehow found a way to lose 20 games despite having an ERA around or a tad bit under the league average.  This team had a pen that only had 13 saves.  No shock when you see all those CG's.  When called upon, both Bob Lacey (3-2, 2.94, 6SV) and Jeff Jones (1-3, 2.84, 5SV) delivered the goods.  It's a shame Billy didn't trust them more often, because he might have been able to save those young arms.  Like most of the division the A's dropped out of contention in mid June.  To their credit they still managed to finish above .500.  While losing 3-2 to the Orioles on August 23rd the team would find out that their colorful owner and admitted skin flint, Charley Finley, sold the team.  This ended an era of baseball that saw the A's become one of the more colorful if not confounding franchises in the history of the game.

15 new cards were created for to complete the set.

Alan_Wirth_OAKBilly MartinBrian_Kingman_OAKDave_Beard_OAKDave_McKay_OAKErnie_Camacho_OAKJeff_Cox_OAKJeff_Jones_OAKMark_Souza_OAKMike_Davis_OAKOrlando_Gonzalez_OAKRandy_Elliott_OAKRay_Cosey_OAKRich_Bordi_OAKRick_Lysander_OAK

Finding photos for the A;s collection was hard.  AY and the boys did their very best, but I still had to search for some missing photos.  The Rich Bordi pic came from a minor league card.  I airbrushed on the logo and tried to hide the shirt log a bit.  Randy Elliott had no know photos while playing for the A’s so I used a B&W shot of him playing for the crosstown Giants.  Couldn’t find anything worth using for Ernie Camacho other than his rookie panel card shot.  Not one of my favorite sets probably because I really liked this team a lot and wished I could have done better.

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