Oakland Athletics: The Athletics’ All-Time 25-Man Roster

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Relief Pitcher #3: Darold Knowles

The Athletics acquired Darold Knowles from the Washington Senators in 1971, adding the successful closer to their already-stacked bullpen. After a rough debut season with the Baltimore Orioles in 1965, Knowles spent a year with the Phillies before being dealt to the Senators. With the Phillies, he posted a 3.05 ERA and saved 13 games in 69 appearances, pitching over 100 innings, and he only improved upon that after being dealt to Washington.

After joining the A’s, Knowles spent three and a half seasons in an Oakland uniform. He saved 30 games, pitched a complete-game shutout in one of his six starts, and maintained a 2.99 ERA over the course of his time with the franchise. Altogether, he pitched 270.2 innings and struck out 140 batters.

Knowles was an instrumental part of the 1973 World Series. He pitched in all seven games, allowing no earned runs and picking up a pair of saves. He is the only pitcher to have appeared in all seven games of a World Series, which is a pretty big accomplishment.

Knowles’s 1974 season was hardly as good as his prior year, and he found himself headed to the Chicago Cubs after a disappointing final season in Oakland. Knowles also spent time with the Rangers, Expos and Cardinals before retiring in 1980 with 143 career saves and a life-time 3.12 ERA.

Runner-Up: Jack Coombs

Right-hander Jack Coombs spent the majority of his career as a starter, but back in the day, pitchers weren’t quite as specialized as they are now, and he made plenty of relief appearances between starts. Coombs spent nine years with the Philadelphia Athletics – beginning in 1906 – before moving on to the Brooklyn Robins and Detroit Tigers. They were the best years of his career. During his time as an A’s pitcher, he posted a 2.60 ERA and struck out 870 batters. Coombs sometimes had the opportunity to play from the opposite side of the plate as well: he hit .245, but had four home runs and 19 stolen bases in his career. Not bad for a pitcher.

Next: The Bullpen: Middle Reliever #4