Wednesday, June 30, 2010

1982 Oakland Athletics

It's been a while since I've posted an article about the Oakland Athletics. They went from the AL runner-up in 1981 to being the 5th worst team in baseball in 1982. It's little wonder as the team featured Rickey Henderson-led outfield that was solid, a burned out pitching staff, and little else.

Robin Yount won the AL MVP award and rightly so as he was the best player on the best team. But Rickey Henderson represents the biggest no brainer selection for team MVP out of all of the teams I have reviewed so far. 1982 was of course the year that he set the single season record for stolen bases with 130. This is a record that doesn't seem in danger of falling anytime soon. Henderson only had a .267 batting average, but had 116 walks, so he got on base a lot. As much as what has been written about how valuable a walk is from the stat people, which I am not in agreement with, this is an exception, as Henderson batted lead off and with the stolen bases, his walks were as good as a double and sometimes a triple. He doubled every teammates runs scored total, except for Dwayne Murphy.

Besides his actual playing ability, this 1982 Topps card is one of my all time favorite cards. It is a nice action shot of Henderson leading off of first base getting ready to do what he did best, steal a base.

Cy Young
On the other side, it is difficult to decide who was this teams best pitcher. A lot of pitchers with losing records and bad ERAs. I will give it to a long reliever/spot starter, Tom Underwood. He was 4th on the team in innings pitched, had the lowest ERA, was 2nd in strikeouts, and had a winning record. To get an idea how he was used, he also had 2 complete games and 7 saves.

Rookie Card of the Year
Most Interesting Non Topps Card
There were only two rookie cards to choose from, Dave Beard and Kelvin Moore. Neither one made much of an impact in the game. Besides Billy Martin, they were the only two A's to be featured on a non-Topps card. So I will give both awards to Dave Beard. He was considered the closer for this team in that he finished the most games and had the most saves. He played for the A's in 1983, the Mariners in 1984, the Cubs in 1985 and then didn't appear in the major leagues again until appearing in two games for the 1989 Tigers. 1982 was his best season in the majors.

Note: Preston Hanna and Fernando Arroyo played for the A's and other different teams in 1982. They were both pictured on cards with the other teams that they played for in 1982, but both got more playing time with the A's, so I placed them here on the checklist.

__ TO 318 C Mike Heath OAK
__ TT 70 1B Dan Meyer OAK
__ TT 64 2B Davey Lopes OAK
__ TO 692 3B Wayne Gross OAK
__ TO 787 SS Fred Stanley OAK
__ TO 610 LF Rickey Henderson OAK
__ TO 29 CF Dwayne Murphy OAK
__ TO 60 RF Tony Armas OAK
__ TT 14 DH Jeff Burroughs OAK
__ TO 187 C Jeff Newman OAK
__ TO 422 DH Cliff Johnson OAK

Starting Pitchers
__ TO 454 SP Rick Langford OAK
__ TO 87 SP Matt Keough OAK
__ TO 370 SP Mike Norris OAK
__ TO 113 SP Steve McCatty OAK
__ TO 476 SP Brian Kingman OAK

Relief Pitchers
__ FL 87 CL Dave Beard OAK
__ TO 757 RP Tom Underwood OAK
__ TO 243 RP Bob Owchinko OAK
__ TO 217 RP Bo McLaughlin OAK
__ FL 435 RP Preston Hanna ATL

Other Players
__ TO 534 2B Dave McKay OAK
__ TT 102 1B Joe Rudi OAK
__ TO 148 3B Mickey Klutts OAK

SS Jimmy Sexton
__ TO 729 1B Jim Spencer OAK

SS Tony Phillips
__ TO 633 DH Mitchell Page OAK

C Bob Kearney
__ TO 671 UT Mike Davis OAK
__ DO 534 1B Kelvin Moore OAK
__ TO 123 DH Danny Goodwin MIN
__ TO 293 SS Rob Picciolo OAK

UT Darrell Brown
__ TO 392 OF Rick Bosetti OAK

UT Kevin Bell
__ TO 139 RP Jeff Jones OAK

SP Steve Baker

SP Tim Conroy
__ TO 18 RP Fernando Arroyo MIN
__ TO 58 RP John D'Acquisto CAL

SP Chris Codiroli

RP Dennis Kinney

__ DO 491 MG Billy Martin OAK


  1. Maybe my favorite stat of the '82 season, is Rickey going hitless in the game he broke the single season steals record, AND still stealing 4 bases in the game.

  2. Getting on base via a walk to me is overrated, I can think of several instances where a walk is useless. But Henderson may be an exception just because of the distraction of his base stealing prowess during the prime of his career.