#13: Jason Giambi
Given his ties to PEDs, Jason Giambi might be a controversial name to have on an all-time hitters list. However, his contributions to the early 2000s teams are part of what made them so great, and it would be impossible to leave him off a list celebrating the best hitters of the franchise.
Giambi made his debut in 1995, hitting just .256 with 6 home runs in 54 games. The following season, he hit 20 home runs – and didn’t drop below that mark until he hit just 12 in an injury-shortened 2004 season with the Yankees.
Giambi was a five-time All-Star, including twice with the A’s. He never led the league in home runs (steroid era problems) but he did lead in on-base percentage three times in his career, as well as four times in walks and once in doubles. In 2001, he led the league in WAR. Giambi’s value came not just in his ability to hit for power, but like many great sluggers, in his ability to take walks – and inspire pitchers to be cautious enough to walk him in the first place.
After the 2014 season, Giambi retired following a two-year stint with the Cleveland Indians, during which time he became the oldest player to hit a walkoff home run – twice. This capped a storied career that included winning the 2000 MVP and Hutch Awards, as well as being the MVP runner-up in 2001, and the AL Comeback Player of the Year in 2005.
Because of his ties to PEDs, Giambi will likely never be voted into the Hall of Fame even if the writers believe he is worthy, but his legacy as a hitter should be fondly remembered by A’s fans.
Next: Top 20 A's Hitters: #12