Coffey: How the A’s elephant is rooted in a century-old rivalry

From Alex Coffey at The Athletic on November 13, 2019, with mention of SABR member Todd Radom:

In the winter of 1988, the Haas family, which purchased the A’s from former owner Charlie Finley eight years prior, was looking to change the team’s luck. The A’s had finished exactly .500 the season before and hadn’t secured a winning record since 1981. In an attempt to procure future success, the franchise opted to pay homage to its winning legacy — resurrecting a symbol that evoked irony, glory and tenacity alike.

A’s outfielder José Canseco was on board.

“The elephant is the right symbol for us this year,” the infamous A’s slugger told the Arizona Daily Sun. “We’ve got lots of big guys swinging big bats and hitting homers.”

For one of the premier power hitters in baseball at the time, the A’s white elephant resembled the team’s mammoth home-run hitters — the Cansecos, the McGwires, the Hendersons and the Parkers. The guys whose bulging biceps tested the structural limits of jersey sleeves. The guys who blasted bombs into the seldom-reached corners of the Oakland Coliseum.

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Originally published: November 14, 2019. Last Updated: November 14, 2019.