Radom: The A’s and their elephants, together since 1902

From SABR member Todd Radom at Radom Thoughts on May 2, 2016:

I recently received a Twitter inquiry about the Oakland Athletics’ uniform sleeve patch. The A’s sport the symbol of an elephant on their uniforms, a visual association that dates back to the franchise’s second season.

Why an elephant? Hardly a symbol of athleticism, the Athletics’ elephant has a unique story attached to it, one that dates back to July 10, 1902.

Athletics owner and manager Connie Mack explained it all in his 1950 autobiography, “My 66 Years in the Big Leagues:”

The insignia of our Philadelphia Athletics, as you know, is the White Elephant. The story of acquiring it is an interesting one. In 1902 the Baltimore Club forfeited its franchise in the newly formed American League. Its spot was filled by the New York Highlanders, “the acorn from which sprung the mighty Yankee oak.”

The astute John McGraw took advantage of the opportunity and jumped from the crumbling Orioles to the New York Giants, a leap to fame and fortune. When the sportswriters gathered around McGraw to fire a barrage of questions, one of the questions was, “What do you think of the Philadelphia A’s?”

“White elephants!” quickly retorted Mr. McGraw. “Mr. B. F. Shibe has a white elephant on his hands.”

Research shows that McGraw made these remarks on July 10, 1902, and the elephant connection has endured, albeit with many twists and turns.

Read the full article here: http://toddradom.com/elephants-together-since-july-10-1902/

Originally published: May 3, 2016. Last Updated: May 3, 2016.