[EDITOR'S NOTE - This is an outstanding idea by devo, so I wanted to put it on the front page. Judging from his first entry, it will be interesting to see if Rube Waddell winds up on this list. Of course, it's tough to measure hitters and pitchers against the different eras, but I like Plank as number 10. - Blez]
Just for kicks, I decided to compile my version of the top ten All-Time A's. We're not limited to Oakland here, these go way back to the days of Connie Mack. The list is compiled primarily based on statistics, mostly ERA+, OPS+ and years of service. Consideration is given to non-A's performance as well, though weighted down heavily. Additionally, bonuses are given for MVPs, Cy Youngs, playoff appearances/performance, being the greatest base stealer of all-time, stuff like that.
I adjusted for players who are still performing, though only one contemporary player makes the list. I'll give you a clue as to who that player is not. Giambi and Miggie were #11 and #13, respectively. Chief Bender, Al Simmons, Sal Bando and Jose Canseco were also close. So was one other contemporary player but I won't say who it is because I don't want to give away who the one contemporary player in the top 10 is. Don't worry, he's number 9, you won't have to wait too long. Enough with the premise, lets get to the players.
All-Time A's #10:
When the A's franchise was founded in 1901, manager Connie Mack had an emerging young ace in Eddie Plank. He pitched 260-2/3 innings that year with a 3.31 era, leading the A's to a 74-62 finish.
A college boy, Gettysburg Eddie was not a fan favorite. Nomar Garciaparra would have done him proud today. His strategy was to adjust hat, belt, uniform, etc ad nauseam in order to distract the batter and make him nervous. Fans then, just like today, hate a game that drags on and would avoid the park when Plank was scheduled to start.
Plank spent fourteen spectacular years with the Philadelphia A's, making four World Series' and winning two. His postseason record, however, was a paltry 2-5 despite a 1.32 era, thanks mostly to the four shutouts his offense put up for him.
He finished in the top 10 in ERA eight times, wins thirteen times, and innings eight times. His 2.35 era is 21st all-time and his 196 hit batsmen is number 2.
Plank's 326 victories rank third-most all-time among lefties behind Warren Spahn and Steve Carlton, and he posted more shutouts and completed more games than any other left-hander.
He was a finesse pitcher with a sidearm sweeping curve ball, named "cross-fire", Plank never played baseball before prep school and joined the Athletics after graduating from Gettysburg College in 1901. He pitched in the majors for 17 seasons, winning 20 games eight times and helping the A's to six pennants in the new American League.
In 1915, Plank left the Athletics to play for the St. Louis Terriers in the Federal League. When that league folded, Plank was sent to the St. Louis Americans, where he pitched for two seasons. He then retired following the 1917 season, moving back to Gettysburg where he opened a car dealership. He died on 24 February 1926 after suffering a stroke.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1946.