Think back to your first baseball game. Recall stepping out of the entrance tunnel to find a sea of bright green grass surrounded by cheering fans keeping score as organ music plays baseball's greatest hits. The A's will transport you back to that nostalgic baseball experience at every CAPCOM Throwback Thursday game.
Upon entrance to the ballpark 5,000 fans will receive a Throwback Thursday commemorative scorecard and button, a different button will be given away at each Throwback Thursday game. Enjoy organ music and classic songs from an earlier era. Get the Throwback price of 50% off Plaza Level tickets for every Thursday game.
When the American League was established in 1901, the Philadelphia Athletics were created to rival the National League's Philadelphia Phillies. Blue and white were chosen as the team's primary colors, and a single letter "A" served as the only adornment on the jersey for the first twenty years. The button on the left represents the team's first logo, adopted in 1915, with the elephant making its debut as alternate jersey lettering in 1920. During their time in Philadelphia, the Athletics won nine American League pennants and five World Series titles under the leadership of manager Connie Mack.
While the jerseys of that era were subdued and simplistic, the Philadelphia Athletics were anything but. Shibe Park, baseball's first steel-and-concrete stadium, and home to the Athletics until 1954, featured red brick and terra cotta walls, a copper-trimmed green slate roof, and decorative baseball motifs. The raucous crowd kept every seat filled and could often be heard chanting, "If Eddie Plank doesn't make you lose / We have Waddell and Bender all ready to use!" When the Athletics brought home their first World Series championship in 1910, a celebration erupted in the streets that lasted through the night into the following day as the team arrived back in Philadelphia via train. Hundreds of fans purchased tickets so they could enter the train station to welcome the champions home.
During the 1970s, a group of Oakland Athletics helped propel the team to three consecutive World Series Championships and five AL West Division titles. This group was called "The Swingin' A's" by owner Charlie Finley, and featured future Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter, and Reggie Jackson, Cy Young Award winner Vida Blue, and six-time All-Star Bert Campaneris. The team was also known for their bright green and gold uniforms, white cleats, and facial hair. This button represents the official team logo from 1971-1981.
The Swingin' A's overcame great odds to win their first of three consecutive World Series Championships in 1972. Facing the highly favored Cincinnati Reds, the A's seemed like long shots to take the title. The series was dubbed "The Hairs vs. The Squares," a nod to the mustached group from Oakland against a clean-shaven and more traditional team from Cincinnati. Some critics even wrote the A's off before the series had begun, proclaiming the Reds had won the World Series after clinching the National League pennant. With their clutch hitting and superb defense, the A's won series in seven games.
Ever wonder how the elephant mascot came to be? The story dates all the way back to 1901, when the Athletics were first established in Philadelphia. Then New York Giants Manager John McGraw dismissed the Athletics as a bad investment by calling them "The White Elephants." Rather than take offense to the comment, Athletics Manager Connie Mack adopted the white elephant as a symbol for the new ballclub, and led the Athletics to their first American League pennant in 1902. The elephant stuck, even as the team moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City and eventually on to Oakland. The white elephant on this button was used as a team logo from 1932-1950.
In 1942, with the world at war, every able-bodied American man was needed in the effort overseas, and with many young players enlisting their service, the immediate future of baseball was in question. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis sought the advice of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to determine if baseball should continue during the war. To this, Roosevelt responded:
"I honestly feel it would be best for the country to keep baseball going if 300 teams use 5,000 or 6,000 players, these players are a definite recreational asset to at least 20 million of their fellow citizens - and that in my judgment is thoroughly worthwhile."
To do their part, MLB teams started including patches on their uniforms to help the government in their campaign to spread patriotic fervor. As part of the Health and Fitness Campaign, the "Health Patch" was worn by all MLB teams to encourage youngsters to get in shape in case they were needed for the war effort. The patch was produced by Willabee & Ward, and was only used during the 1942 season.
1968 marked the inaugural season for the Oakland A's, and this button represents the team's first logo. In order to draw crowds, owner Charlie Finley created some memorable promotions including a cow milking contest, orange baseballs and bases, "Hot Pants Day," and "Harvey the Rabbit," a mechanical bunny that delivered baseballs to the umpire behind the plate. He encouraged players and coaches to grow mustaches, paying $300 per person for sporting facial hair. On "Mustache Day," fans with facial hair received half price tickets.
Finley was a man of ideas, and with his input, the game of baseball would see a few meaningful changes. For example, he urged for use of a designated hitter in the American League. He also pushed for night games during the World Series, allowing more fans to attend. Under Finley's ownership, the A's won three World Series Championships and five American League West Division titles.
Cornelius McGuillicuddy, Sr. served as manager of the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-1950. During that time, "Connie Mack" became the first manager to win the World Series three times and the only manager to win consecutive World Series championships on separate occasions (1910-11, 1929-30). His 3,731 wins are the most in the Major Leagues, nearly 1,000 more than any other manager. In 1937, Connie Mack was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame before he had even retired from the game. Under Connie Mack's leadership, the Athletics won nine American League pennants and five World Series championships.
What made Connie Mack so successful? Above all else, Mr. Mack valued education, and sought players who displayed tremendous "baseball smarts," were self-motivated, and willing to learn. Despite never attending college, Mack encouraged players to finish their degree before entering the pros. His intelligent and innovative managing style earned him much praise, and he was nicknamed "The Tall Tactician."
In 1954, the Athletics were sold to Chicago businessman Arnold Johnson, who promptly relocated the team to Kansas City. The team added red as an accent color, and this button represents the logo on the home jersey worn in the 1961 season. After Johnson's death in 1960, the team was sold to Charlie Finley, who implemented a number of changes during his ownership. For the first time in team history, the Athletics were officially referred to as the "A's", which Finley preferred. Finley then introduced a new look in 1963, replacing the familiar team colors of navy, white, and red with Kelly green, gold, and white. This bold new look was accompanied by a new mascot - a Missouri mule named "Charlie O" after owner Finley.
This button represents the patch that was worn by the Philadelphia Athletics in 1918-1919, marking the first time the elephant mascot made an appearance on a uniform. To the Athletics and their fans, the elephant became a symbol of perseverance after New York Giants Manager John McGraw, doubting the success of the Athletics, commented that Owner Ben Shibe and Manager Connie Mack had a "white elephant on their hands." That spirit of determination was no more apparent than in 1918, when little-known A's slugger Tilly Walker tied the great Babe Ruth as the American League's home run leader.