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All-Time A's #2

All-Time A's #2:
Jimmie Foxx

My apologies for the delay, with the holidays and the year-end rush at work, I haven't had a chance to get to good 'ol Double X.

The Beast was recruited by Frank "Homerun" Baker to join his minor league team. As Baker told it, he was lost, heading down a country road, on a scouting trip. He happened across a young man, working in the fields. Baker decided to ask for directions - but the answer would astound him. Rather than a simple, 'that way', Foxx pointed by lifting the plow he was using with one arm.

After a brieft stint, Baker recommended the young catcher to his old boss, Connie Mack who signed the seventeen year old immediately. On the A's, Foxx was initially relegated to backup catcher dudes, behind the young star, Mickey Cochrane. In 1927, at the age of 19, though, he showed he was ready for a bigger role, posting a .908 OPS over 146 PAs. Mack decided to move Foxx to first base, stick him in the starting lineup and the rest, as they say, is history.

In his first year as a regular, Foxx was second on the team in slugging and obp and led the team in OPS. In 400 ABs, he knocked 52 extra base hits and his team won 98 games but were edged by the Murder's Row Yankees. Just like his team, though, Foxx was just getting started.

He was just starting to display the prodigous power that would come to earn him the nickname, "the right handed Babe Ruth". His mammoth power was the stuff of legends. He hit Lefty Gomez' pitch so hard that it sailed into the upper deck of Yankee Stadium and, despite the distance, still managed to break a seat. When Gomez was asked how far the ball traveled, he said, "I don't know, but I do know it took somebody 45 minutes to go up there and get it back."  He hit a ball over the double decked stands in old Comiskey and dropped one deep into the left field bleachers, a feat that was much more impressive than it sounds.

After impressive seasons in 1929 and 1930, leading the A's to two World Series Champions - in which he slugged .700 and .667, respectively, Foxx 'slumped' badly in 1931. His OPS fell all the way to .947 from the 1.088 and 1.066 he had posted the previous two years. With Foxx contributing numbers similar to his regular season, the A's offense sputtered in the World Series and the Cardinals were able to avenge the previous year's loss in seven games.

With the pitching staff aging, the A's second dynasty was winding to a close. Their offense proved sufficient to lead them to a second place finish in 1932 but by 1933's third place finish would be the last time they would finish that high until 1969.

While the A's were sliding Foxx was just coming into his prime. He won consecutive MVPs in 1932 and 1933, posting OPSs of 1.218 and 1.153, respectively. The 58 homeruns he hit in 1932 stood as the record for the most by a righty until Mark McGwire broke the overall single season record 66 years later. His 534 career homeruns also stood as the most by a righty until Aaron broke the record decades later.

After a couple more jaw dropping seasons with OPSs in the neighborhood of 1.100, and with the Great Depression in full swing, Connie Mack decided he could no longer afford the great slugger. He sent him to the Red Sox in return for $150,000. Foxx was well worth it, as he added several superb seasons in Boston, earning MVP honors and walloping 50 homeruns in 1938.

After six excellent years in Boston, Foxx suddenly fell off drastically. Due to heavy drinking and a sinus condition his OPS fell from .917 in 1941, as a 33 year old, to .664 in 1942, when he was waived and signed by the Cubs, midway through the season. After sitting out 1943 and sitting on the bench in the beginning of 1944, he was cut from the Cubs in the middle of the season. He finished his career the next year as a utility player and pitcher for the Phillies. Over 23 innings, Foxx allowed a 1.59 era and was practically unhittable - largely due to his poor control.

Foxx worked as a manager until his days were through, including a stint as the skipper of the Fort Wayne Daisies of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and provided much of the inspiration for Tom Hanks' character in A League of Their Own.

Jimmie Foxx finished his 20-year, 2317-game career with 534 home runs, 1922 runs batted in, and a .325 batting average. His 12 consecutive seasons with 30 or more home runs was a major league record broken by Barry Bonds in 2004.

Of course, as always, a recommend is appreciated.

#10 Eddie Plank
#9 Eric Chavez
#8 Reggie Jackson
#7 Eddie Collins
#6 Mickey Cochrane
#5 Mark McGwire
#4 Dennis Eckersley
#3 Rickey Henderson
#2 Jimmie Foxx

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