Westcott: The Athletics’ last game in Philadelphia, 60 years ago

From SABR member Rich Westcott at the Philadelphia Inquirer on September 19, 2014:

They haven’t met very often over the years, but when the Phillies play the Oakland Athletics, a few special memories sometimes surface. That will be the case again this weekend when the two teams meet in Oakland. Friday’s game is particularly noteworthy. It’s the 60th anniversary of the Athletics’ last game in Philadelphia.

The Oakland Athletics were, for decades, the Philadelphia Athletics. After playing in Philly for 54 years, starting in 1901 when the American League was formed, the team was moved to Kansas City, where it played for 13 seasons before the franchise was transferred to Oakland.

While in Philadelphia, the Athletics won five championships, more than any other major professional sports team in the city. Overall, they won nine American League pennants, and for much of their stay in Philadelphia they ranked as the city’s favorite team.

Some of the greatest players in baseball history played with the A’s, including Jimmie Foxx, Eddie Collins, Lefty Grove, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, Frank Baker, and Eddie Plank – all members of the Hall of Fame. In their later years, the A’s featured such local favorites as Bobby Shantz, Gus Zernial, Sam Chapman, Ferris Fain, and Elmer Valo.

But the success didn’t last. Throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, the A’s had finished as high as fourth place only twice, and they had wound up last seven times.

Read the full article here: http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/20140919_The_Athletics__last_game_in_Philadelphia.html

Originally published: September 19, 2014. Last Updated: September 19, 2014.