Cust signing sparks memories of A's DH history.
One of the great things about the DH is that it has allowed classic sluggers to extend their career because they can no longer play the field. Hank Aaron finishing his career with the Brewers is the classic example. Modern day thinking has young guys like Chris Carter already being pegged as potential DHs before they even reach the majors. The A's have a great history of bringing in some of the all-time sluggers to play DH.
It all started in 1973. The A's went with Deron Johnson -- not exactly classic, but still an aging slugger from the National league. The first classic A's DH was Billy Williams in 1975. My favorites were: Williams75-76, Dave Kingman 84-86, Reggie Jackson 87, Dave Parker 88-89, Harold Baines 90-91, Jose Canseco 97, and Frank Thomas 06 and 08.
Some other great hitters played some DH for the A's, but not enough to be considered for favorite status: Orlando Cepeda (3 abs), Rico Carty, Willie McCovey, Willie Horton, Ron Cey, Don Baylor, Dusty Baker, Kevin Mitchell, Mike Piazza and Giambi.
Good, but not great hitters as A's DH: Mitchell Page, Jeff Burroughs, Cliff Johnson, Jesus Alou, Matt Stairs.
"Flash in the Pan" DHs: Troy Neel, Geronimo Berroa, E.Durazo, John Jaha. At least these guys had success is their short stints as A's DH. Many others, especially in the past decade, were not memorable.
A great marketing tool the A's have used is bringing back franchise icons. After great A's players leave for big free agent money they occasionally come back so the A's can suck the last drops of baseball out of them at a bargain basement price: Joe Rudi 83, Reggie 87, Canseco 97, and Giambi 09.
To me it's a shame the A's did not bring in Barry Bonds as DH last year. He was the classic slugger that has lost his legs, but can still knock it out the park. DH is such a great opportunity to do something interesting. I would have to put Cust in the "Flash in the Pan" category for now. It's not sexy, but it will have to do.
My favorite A's DH of all-time is Dave Kingman. Who is your favorite?