Slusser: A’s pulling a rabbit out of their hat for 50th anniversary

From Susan Slusser at the San Francisco Chronicle on March 27, 2018:

For the A’s 50th anniversary in Oakland, they’re bringing back all their greats.

Including Harvey the Rabbit.

Those with long memories will remember Harvey as one of owner Charlie Finley’s many colorful marketing ideas. First in Kansas City and then in the early days of the team’s time in Oakland, the mechanical animal popped up from the ground behind home plate and delivered balls at the press of a pedal, accompanied by “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.”

Alas, the original Harvey is no more. He broke down often, and after a player took a bat to him one day, Harvey was laid to rest. There were photos in the Sporting News of the robot rabbit in a casket, and according to Coliseum myth, he was buried under the ice plant that once covered the area beyond the outfield wall.

“He’s actually under us right here,” A’s President Dave Kaval said while sitting in the new party-deck Treehouse in the Coliseum’s left-field area. “The old Harvey the Rabbit was put to rest here, and then they built Mount Davis on top of it.”

So the A’s had to resurrect Harvey from scratch. Director of stadium operations David Rinetti formed a committee a year ago to scan old photos and contemporary descriptions and come up with a replacement. Nancy Finley, Charlie Finley’s niece, consulted on the project.

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Originally published: March 27, 2018. Last Updated: March 27, 2018.