Oakland Athletics: Big Three From The Early 2000’s Deserve More Recognition

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The Big Three from the early 2000’s were one of the best threesomes in a starting rotation in the modern era of baseball, and they get little respect for what they achieved together. Kudos to the Oakland Athletics organization for recognizing these three starting pitchers this past weekend. Together, they assisted the Athletics in winning 483 games in just five years. Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder helped the A’s average 97 wins a year from 2000 to 2004.

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Having Zito take the mound against great friend Hudson, who is now pitching for the San Francisco Giants, on Saturday was great for the fans of Oakland and Zito deserved it. With a career like he had, it was extremely admirable for him to stay in the Minors all season in Nashville just for love of the game. Manager Bob Melvin rewarded Zito by calling him up this September and letting him toss one last time at the O.co Coliseum. The standing ovation Zito received from the Athletics faithful was outstanding.

Hudson received the same respect once he left the field on Saturday. It was a very classy move by A’s fans. It was a great gesture by both organizations for matching them up and allowing them to take the mound against each other. Neither pitcher lit up the stat sheet, but the fact that they both were given the chance to pitch on the same day was a great day in baseball. The movie Moneyball should have made more of an effort to incorporate these three outstanding pitchers, who were very much apart of the A’s success that season, into the movie.

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  • During the early 2000s when the Big Three dominated the A’s starting rotation, Hudson was the ace of the staff, earning two All-Star appearances and a 20 win season with multiple seasons of a sub-3.00 ERA. He was the “old guy” of the group, but was still very young at the time.

    Following Hudson was Zito, who had the nastiest curve ball in the game that started at a batter’s head then dropped right over the plate for a strike. He won the American League Cy Young award when he posted a 23-5 record with a 2.75 ERA in 2002 and was a two-time All-Star in that span as well. Finally, Mark Mulder was the No. 3 starter during those five years that these three were pitching together. Mulder was also a two-time All-Star including a 21-8 season.

    These three guys held it down for a good five years for the Athletics and had a lot of success together. It is great to see that they have all remained great friends. Not saying that they all belong in the Hall of Fame, but they definitely should be in the Oakland Athletics ring of honor and it is a shame that they could not win a World Series together. It would be great to build a rotation similar to the Big Three and to have it evolve around Sonny Gray. Athletics’ fans deserve it!

    Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, and Mark Mulder — we salute you and what you accomplished in Oakland!

    Next: Oakland Athletics' Sonny Gray Shut Down For Remainder Of 2015 Season

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