#9: Joe Rudi
Outfielder Joe Rudi made a name for himself as an Oakland Athletic, although his career began when the team was still in Kansas City. He played just one season before the team moved, and he really blossomed as the 1970s began. Rudi hit .309 in 1970, as he practiced for the Athletics’ World Series years.
Rudi was a key factor in the success of those 1970s teams, as one of the top position players of his era. He was selected as an All-Star three times, in 1972, 1974 and 1975, and he won the Gold Glove Award in three consecutive seasons, beginning in 1974.
Charlie Finley, the Athletics’ owner, made an attempt to sell Rudi to the Boston Red Sox in 1976, but Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ruled that selling an All-Star outfielder for $1 million was hardly an acceptable deal. Rudi, along with Rollie Fingers and Vida Blue, returned to the Athletics. Rudi became a free agent at the end of the season, departing to play for the California Angels and Boston Red Sox before finally retiring as an Athletic in 1982.
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