Athletics’ Family Loyalty


Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletics flagship radio station spent much of today’s broadcast discussing great A’s teams of yesteryear, inspired by the recent tribute to the 1989 champions.  During their chat it was noted that the Athletics don’t maintain active relationships with their former players to the extent that the Giants do.

Admittedly, I only know about the big name players working with San Francisco but I’m willing to bet that the Athletics are competitive in this field as much as any other. There is a loyalty in the Athletics organization that gives the outsider the impression that once you’re a A, you’re family.

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Rickey Henderson is frequently seen at games and often works with players. I am confident that there will be a day when Henderson is a full out coach with the team after Chip Hale gets the inevitable manager gig somewhere.

Ray Fosse is an all star catcher and a member of one of the most celebrated Athletics teams of all time.  For nearly three decades, though, Fosse has been known as the color commentator for both radio and television broadcasts. His “wow” and love for Dibbs are legendary among A’s fans and he is a beloved member of the family, even spawning a hilarious fake Twitter feed.

Bip Roberts and  Shooty Babbit, who both contribute to Athletics’ broadcasting, had some time in the green and gold, too.

Then there are guys like Mike Gallego, Curt Young, and Ariel Prieto who had careers as players for the team and are now coaching the best team in baseball.

Many ex-Athletics swing by during spring training, including the late Bob Welch, and many more are coaches, managers, and broadcasters for other major league organizations.

But there’s one ex-Athletic that has been shown the greatest in family loyalty. He played 37 games for the A’s in 1989 and left in 1990 to take a scouting gig in the front office. 24 years later, he’s regarded as one of the best General Managers in baseball, has reinvented the way teams are built and became part owner of the team. I’m talking about Billy Beane in case you’re not good with subtext.

There are also a number of folks that have been with the team forever, guys like Steve Vucinich, who never played a day of baseball but are parts of our family as well. Maybe the Giants have more relationships with ex-players, I don’t know, but I think our friends at The Game may have spoke without realizing just how many players remain a daily fixture in the organization.

This year’s tributes to 1974 and 1989 have been fantastic reminders of our legacy. A legacy that is only comparable to the most elite teams in baseball, and has helped solidify a bond between fans of old while including newer fans, without forging bonds with the players, the Athletics would not be able to unite the fan base in such an evident way. The team is a family and the fans are a family and we all celebrate good times. Come on. It’s a celebration.