Former Oakland A's third baseman Sal Bando has passed away after battling cancer. He was 78 years old.
Bando did not get the same amount of attention as some of the biggest stars on the A's. The likes of Reggie Jackson. Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, and Vida Blue were in the spotlight. They were amongst the biggest stars in the game at the time, the most recognizable figures on the A's dynasty of the early 1970s.
Remembering Oakland A's star Sal Bando
And yet, even with those stars on the A's, Bando was the team captain. Jackson said that Bando was "the Godfather - the capo di capo." While everyone had their roles, Bando was the leader and everyone understood that was the case.
He backed that up with his play on the diamond as well. Bando was a four time All Star with the A's and finished in the top four of the AL MVP vote three times. He posted a .255/.359/.418 batting line with 192 homers and 212 doubles during his 11 years old Oakland, solid production in the middle of what was an impressive lineup during that time.
He left Oakland after the 1976 season, the bitter taste of a contract dispute for the previous year still in his mouth. Bando spent the final five years of his career in Milwaukee, joining their front office once he retired. After a decade as the special assistant to the GM, Bando took over that seat in October 1991. Despite mishandling Paul Molitor's arbitration in 1992, he remained in the position until August 1999.
He remained busy after his time in baseball. Bando appeared in an episode of The Simpsons in 2006, was the CEO of The Middleton Doll Company, and spent time working with various charities. He was a good player, someone who was a borderline Hall of Famer, and a better person.
Oakland A's legend Sal Bando has passed away at 78 years old. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family at this time.