The early 20th century is now represented
In 2018, the Oakland A’s established the Athletics Hall of Fame to commemorate their storied franchise history. Since then, a dozen members have been inducted, including many of the greats from Oakland’s four championship seasons — in fact, all of them were involved with either the mid-70s dynasty or the 1989 title team.
This year, the team reached back to its origins and inducted 10 members of the Philadelphia Athletics. The club started in Philadelphia from 1901-1954 and won five World Series there before moving west, and now that early era is represented in their Hall. An official pregame ceremony was held in late-August.
The 2022 class will return to a group of six more modern players and personnel from A’s history, but it’s not yet finalized as the sixth spot is still up for grabs. Fans get a partial say in that last spot, and you can click here to vote through Oct. 3.
As for the 2021 class, all 10 inductees are also members of baseball’s overall Hall of Fame. Click each name to read their full biographies from SABR, or click here for concise capsules from the A’s official site.
- Owner/Manager Connie Mack
- RHP Chief Bender
- LHP Lefty Grove
- LHP Eddie Plank
- LHP Rube Waddell
- C Mickey Cochrane
- 1B Jimmie Foxx
- 2B Eddie Collins
- 3B Frank Baker
- OF Al Simmons
Mack spent a half-century as the A’s manager, from their first season in 1901 through 1950, which is the longest stint for any coach with the same team in North American pro sports history. He was also a part-owner of the club for their entire tenure in Philadelphia.
Nicknamed the Tall Tactician and famous for wearing a suit and bowler hat in the dugout, Mack won 3,582 games as the A’s manager, an unbreakable team record (nobody else has 1,000). He built two dynasties that won five World Series championships in 1910, ‘11, ‘13, ‘29, and ‘30, and four more AL pennants in 1902, ‘05, ‘14, and ‘31.
The A’s were an inaugural member of the American League in 1901, and they won the pennant in their second season and then again in their fifth season. Waddell pitched for them from 1902-07 and led the league in strikeouts each year, starring for both those pennant winners and serving as an eccentric fan favorite.
The team won its first World Series in 1910, then won again in 1911 and 1913, and reached in 1914 but lost. That dynasty featured pitchers Bender and Plank, and hitters Baker and Collins.
Plank joined the A’s in 1901 and spent 14 seasons with them, and he still holds the franchise records in wins (284), starts (459), strikeouts (1,985), shutouts (59), and bWAR (77.2). Bender arrived in 1903 for a dozen years, tossing a no-hitter in 1910 and dominating in the postseason during the three championships.
Baker led the league in homers each year from 1911-14 before they were commonplace, and earned the nickname “Home Run Baker” by hitting two during the 1911 World Series against the Giants. Joining him on the famous $100,000 infield was Collins, an on-base machine who could steal 60 bags per year — he was often a contender for the precursor to the MVP award, and won it in 1914.
That group was gone by 1915, and the next dynasty began to form a decade later. In 1924 Simmons came up, and the next year brought the debuts of Cochrane, Foxx, and Grove. They went on to win the World Series in 1929 and 1930, then made it again in 1931 but lost to narrowly miss a three-peat. The 1931 team won a franchise record 107 games.
Grove spent nine seasons on the A’s and often led the league in strikeouts (7 times), ERA (5 times), and wins (4 times). Twice he earned the Pitching Triple Crown by leading in all three stats at once, and in 1931 he was named AL MVP.
The next two AL MVPs were won by Foxx, who hit 58 homers in 1932 and then earned the Hitting Triple Crown in 1933, and who still ranks second in franchise history in long balls. Cochrane was the MVP in 1928 as a catcher with a strong bat, and Simmons led the league in RBI in 1929 and then batting average in 1930-31.
Athletics Hall of Fame
The 2021 class joins 12 previous inductees into the AHOF, arranged here by era.
- Owner Charlie Finley
- LHP Vida Blue
- RHP Rollie Fingers
- RHP Catfish Hunter
- SS Bert Campaneris
- OF Reggie Jackson
- Owner Walter Haas
- Manager Tony La Russa
- RHP Dave Stewart
- RHP Dennis Eckersley
- 1B Mark McGwire
- OF Rickey Henderson
Next summer the 2022 class will add six more members, five of whom have already been identified. Two are longtime off-field personnel, Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman and Clubhouse Manager Steve Vucinich. The other three are players, including 3B Sal Bando and OF Joe Rudi of the 1970s dynasty, and 3B Eric Chavez of the 2000s Moneyball years.