Despite his lengthy tenure in Oakland, composing a list of Daric Barton highlights is akin to creating a best of Powerman 5000 album or a complete compendium of the films of Ernest P. Worrell. Nevertheless, I remain a glutton for punishment and watching Barton play for the majority of his spotty career was nothing short of an extended prison sentence. From his ill-timed ability to watch called third strikes fly by, to his critical but largely forgotten phantom error during the first game of the 2013 ALDS. Still, despite all his shortcomings, it’s only natural to feel some type sympathy towards the man that toiled ten years in the organization like some type of lifer in a franchise whose five year plan resembles little more than to not rot. Refusing to ignore his departure, this goes out to Daric Barton and his next adventure in the Great White North.
#5 September 14th, 2007 – Barton Blasts Off
It what was a harbinger of things that would never come, Barton set Oakland on the comeback path in a meaningless late-season match against the Texas Rangers. Connecting for 2 hits or more in 5 of his fist 7 major league games, the left-handed hitter connected on a 0-1 Kason Gabbard pitch in the third inning of a shoot-out against the Rangers. Barton’s round-tripper helped overcome a 6-0 deficit, and for a moment in time the future of both team and player appeared intertwined in pure magic.
#4 September 10th, 2007 – Walk on the Wild Side
Daric Barton walked in his first Major League at-bat because of course he did. He also walked in his second at-bat, because that’s kind of what he does. Facing the immortal Horacio Ramirez, Barton laid off a 3-2 slider to load the bases in the second inning of a inconsequential game for Kurt Suzuki who promptly swatted a grand slam deep into the Seattle night. Fun fact: Seattle was managed in 2007 by John McLaren who’s best know for sharing his name with a popular San Francisco park and this explosive post-game rant below.
#3 September 10th, 2007 – He’s on Fire!
After securing a walk in each of his first two Major League at-bats, Barton decided to swing away on a 2-2 pitch from Ryan Feierabend lacing a double to the right-center gap. In perhaps the most exciting offense debut since Ben Grieve ten years prior, Barton would go on to finish with a 2 for 3 night with two walks during Oakland’s 9-3 blowout. In other news, Ryan Feierabend is pitcher I haven’t thought of since Von Dutch clothing was in style.
#2 September 26th, 2009 – The Comeback Kid
The 2009 season quickly devolved from the prospects of an offensive juggernaut led by Matt Holiday, Orlando Cabrera, and the husks of Jason Giambi and Nomar Garciaparra to a post All-Star juxtaposition of crushed hope, journeymen, and a smidgen of youthful talent. Riding the vapors of a lost season, Daric Barton was able to wrestle his job back from the fading Giambi and slap his way to a .269/.372/.413 mark after returning from his once and future home of Sacramento. His talents were never illustrated so well as late September comeback victory of the Angels in Anaheim. Down 9-3, Oakland rallied back against the eventual division champions finishing with a 4 for 5 game and failing to walk much to the shock of everyone involved.
March 31, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Daric Barton (10) reacts after the eighth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Cleveland Indians at O.co Coliseum. The Indians defeated the Athletics 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
#1 September 22nd, 2013 – A Moment in the Sun
Every dog has his day. Every day has it’s dawn. Every dawn…you get it. Cliches not withstanding, Barton’s mini-resurgence was best exemplified by his solo home run in Oakland’s division clinching win over the Minnesota Twins. Making his 30th career and perhaps last home run in an Athletics uniform, Barton blasted a ball deep into the right field seats in front of a raucous Oakland crowd who had just moments before been notified of Texas’s loss ensuring a second straight division title. Consider this the ride into the sunset moment of the career of Daric Barton.