OK-- we've been here before. (NOTE: I'm about two-thirds the way through an examination of all the teams that started 9-16 since divisional play began. So far there are 7 winning seasons out of 42; 2 playoff teams that really aren't comparable to this year's A's: 1987 Tigers, a veteran team on their last legs; 2006 Twins, Johan Santana, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, three talents that the A's simply do not have)
But what about the A's teams that started slow in their first 25 games?
Well, I've found one exact match, and five others one game better or worse than the current squad.
The exact match was a 9-16 1993 team, the year after the last Bash Brother appearance. Canseco was gone; McGwire was hurt, Rickey would be dispatched to Toronto at the deadline. It was a veteran team that had run out of gas.
The 1994 team started even worse at 8-17. An entirely forgettable bunch with Mcgwire again mostly shelved by the plantar fascitis.
There were three 10-15 starts, and one actually had a winning record. The 1979 team (Rickey's rookie season and the beginnings of the Norris-Keough, McCatty-Kingman rotation that Martin would wreck in the next couple of years) was (gulp) 54-108. The 1985 team (Jose got called up in September; Chris Codiroli was the ace with 15 wins followed by Sutton at 14 at the end of his great career-- Dave Kingman, Dwayne Murphy and Carney Lansford were the best position players).
And then we can party like it's 1999-- that's right, the year that a lot of us have flagged-- optimistically of course-- as being the most analagous to this one-- started out 10-15 and then changed dramatically, and irrevocably, with the flurry of deadline deals when Beane basically announced this team was now a contender. as it was.
And oh yes, there was one other team that started even worse than this one-- 8-17 and basically out of the division race by May. 2001. The team that from mid June on played better over a sustained stretch of baseball than perhaps any other team in the sport since WWII and certainly since the advent of the divisions. The team that broke our hearts in October.
No this year's team isn't that team. I don't think it's 1979, either, though I suppose there's a chance with youngsters still not developed and veterans struggling that it could be that bad. We hope it's 1999 but to me1985 makes more sense. With Doolittle, Carter and Cardenas as the McGwires and Cansecos waiting in the wings.