Every Thursday home game is a Throwback Thursday, presented by Chevron ExtraMile, when the Oakland A's pay homage to the history of the franchise. From the birth of the club in Philadelphia in 1901, through Kansas City, onto Oakland since 1968, the A's have a rich history of legendary ballplayers along with the third most World Series championships in Major League history.
This season, the commemorative buttons will highlight many amazing A's players and their colorful uniforms. There are 10 different buttons in total. See them below.
The first rendition of the Athletics' uniforms included a blue script A on the left chest and featured a collar, similar to that of a dress shirt. Shown modeling the 1903 uniform is right-handed pitcher Chief Bender. In 1910, Bender had a 1.93 ERA in the World Series as the A's defeated the Chicago Cubs to win their first World Series. In 1911, he tied Christy Mathewson's record of three complete games in a World Series. Many have credited Bender with creating the slider, known then as a "nickel curve."
In 1920, the A on the front of the Athletics' jerseys was switched to an elephant, which would remain there for the next eight years. The elephant logo evolved from a derogatory comment made by New York Giants manager John McGraw, who called the A's "White Elephants," implying that the team had no value. In typical A's fashion, Connie Mack transformed the insult into a team mascot, one that is still around today. Modeling the 1920 road uniform is infielder Jimmy Dykes. Dykes spent 14 seasons of his 21-year MLB career with the Philadelphia A's, winning two World Series, and still holds the Athletics franchise record for doubles with 365.
From 1924-1927, the Athletics' uniforms featured a white elephant logo on the left chest. The elephant was shown standing on its hind legs, the beginning of the transformation into what the elephant logo looks like today. Modeling the 1924 uniform is outfielder Al Simmons, who ranks among the top 10 in Athletics franchise history in nearly every offensive category, including leading in RBIs and extra base hits. Simmons won the American League batting title in both 1930 and 1931, beating Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, respectively. He is on record for reaching 2,000 hits in the shortest amount of time, doing it in only 1,390 games.
1950 was the first glimpse of the Athletics uniform we know today, as the Philly A's reverted back to an A on the left chest and added gold to their color scheme. 1950 was Connie Mack's unheard of 50th year managing the A's, which was celebrated with a commemorative patch. The 1950 uniform is modeled by Northern California's own Sam Chapman. Nicknamed the "Tiburon Terror," Chapman was a centerfielder who led the American League in putouts four times. Chapman played 11 seasons with the Philly A's, only broken up in 1941 when he joined the Navy during WWII.
With the A's move to Kansas City in 1955 came new uniforms. The Athletics script across the chest actually started in 1954, the A's last year in Philadelphia. New to the Kansas City uniform was the red elephant balancing on a ball on the left sleeve, a blueprint for the present-day design. Modeling the 1956 uniform is Dick Williams. Most A's fans will remember Williams as the Hall of Fame manager who led the Oakland club to back-to-back World Series titles in 1972 and 1973, but he also spent time as a player with the KC A's.
In 1968, the Athletics completed their cross-country tour and settled in Oakland. The 1968 uniforms celebrated the A's new home, as both the home and away uniforms featured Oakland across the chest. The uniforms were also in the popular vest style that the A's had worn the past few years in Kansas City and would continue to wear for the initial years in Oakland. Modeling the 1968 uniform is third baseman Sal Bando. Bando is among the Athletics all-time leaders in home runs, RBIs, and walks, and was only the second AL third baseman to hit 200 home runs.
The 1969 uniforms brought back the A over the left chest. The new uniforms also featured the player's number on the front of the jersey. The 1969 uniform is shown here with shortstop Bert "Campy" Campaneris. Campy is the leader in both games played and hits as an Athletic. He led the American League in stolen bases six times, and was a six-time All-Star. Campy was a part of the A's World Series champion teams in 1972, '73, and '74.
In 1981 the A's returned "Oakland" to the front of their alternate home and away jerseys. The jerseys themselves were a pullover style, made from synthetic material; much different from the typical button-up style players wear today. The A's continued to sport kelly green as part of their color scheme, although that would soon change to darker green. Modeling the 1981 uniforms is Billy Martin. A Berkeley native, Martin managed the A's from 1980-1982, where his aggressive style became known as "Billyball." Martin also spent a year with the 1957 Kansas City Athletics after being traded from the Yankees.
In 1987 the Athletics script returned to the front of the A's jerseys, this time in green and gold. The player's number also returned to the front of the jersey on the left side. The A's reintroduced sleeve patches to their jerseys, featuring the Oakland All-Star Game patch in '87, and the elephant on the ball logo thereafter. Modeling the 1987 jersey is first baseman Mark McGwire. McGwire's 1987 rookie season was legendary. He smashed 49 home runs, a single-season record for a rookie, en route to winning AL Rookie of the Year.
In 2011, the A's introduced a new gold home alternate jersey, featuring the A's logo on the left chest and an elephant on the ball patch on the left sleeve. The jersey recalled some of the bright gold jerseys last worn by the A's in the '60s, '70s, and early '80s. Shown wearing the 2011 jersey is centerfielder Coco Crisp. Coco has stolen more than 20 bases in a single season eight times in his 12-year career, and led the American League in stolen bases in 2011 with 49. Interestingly, he has been hit by a pitch only five times in his entire career. An integral part of both the offense and defense, Crisp has already made his way onto franchise top ten lists, including stolen bases.