This Week In Oakland Athletics’ History: All-Stars, Ty Cobb and Hideki Matsui


July 15, 2014

Josh DonaldsonSean Doolittle. Scott Kazmir. Derek Norris. Brandon Moss. Yoenis Cespedes. Even Jeff Samardzija, technically. A year ago, all seven of those players were All-Stars, and all seven of them were wearing the Oakland Athletics uniform. Now, only one of them is on the A’s 25-man roster, and even he could be traded away at any moment.

Donaldson is a Toronto Blue Jay, and he was an All-Star once again after batting .293/.351/.532 with 21 homers in the first half. Moss has struggled with his average as a Cleveland Indian, but he’s still slugged 14 home run and leads their team with 46 RBIs. Cespedes, now a Tiger, is hitting nearly as well as Donaldson. Before the break, he batted .297/.322/.499 with 51 RBIs for Detroit.

More from White Cleat Beat

No wonder the A’s are struggling. Last season at this time, Billy Beane dealt Cespedes to the Red Sox for Jon Lester. After the Wild Card game collapse, Beane traded away Donaldson, Norris, Moss and Samardzija, leaving fans and players alike with no idea whether the A’s were going to enter a rebuilding phase or be contenders in 2015. The players he got back for Moss and Donaldson were mostly young prospects, while the players they received for Norris and Samardzija were win-now players like Marcus Semien and Jesse Hahn.

What would the roster look like if Beane had just kept those players? The extra run production would have been quite valuable to the A’s, as they are currently relying on players like outfielder Sam Fuld and designated hitter Billy Butler.

Other Notable Moments This Week In A’s History:

July 17th – In 1914, Philadelphia A’s outfielder Ty Cobb hit his 4,000 career hit in a 5-3 loss to the team his name is most often associated with: the Tigers. Cobb, despite his reputation, is a legend within the game. He has a lengthy list of on-field accomplishments, including winning the Triple Crown and being named AL MVP. Cobb was a 12-time batting champion and six-time stole base champion, and he holds a .367 career batting average in an era when pitchers often ruled. Cobb’s 4,191 career hits are second only to Pete Rose’s 4,256 hits.

July 20th – In 2011, Hideki Matsui hit his 500th career home run in a 7-5 Athletic’s win over the Tigers. The Japanese slugger hit over 160 home runs in his 10-year major league career, with the majority of the 500 homers coming during his time in Japan. Although he was best known as a Yankee, Matsui was a valuable player for Oakland, as well.

* * *

Many thanks to National Pastime, which points out all of the coolest, most historic baseball moments that should be remembered and talked about each year.

Next: Four Changes the A's Can Make To Be Contenders