The A’s took on the Chicago White Sox to kick off the 1969 season, and received some power from an unexpected source. Light-hitting second baseman Dick Green slugged a three-run homerun in the bottom of the fifth inning to erase a 2-0 deficit, as Oakland rallied for a 5-2 victory.
Starter John “Blue Moon” Odom made Green’s blast hold; in fact after allowing a homerun to Sox pitcher Gary Peters with two outs in the fifth, Odom allowed only one more batter to reach base – a one-out walk in the ninth.
All told, “Blue Moon” gave up just three hits on the night to go with the one free pass, while striking out six in an impressive complete-game effort. Odom would earn his second straight All-Star appearance in 1969, and pitched for the A’s during their three-year reign as World Champions.
Odom was once shot (prior to the 1972 season) while fighting off a burglar, which didn’t keep him from putting together a fine year for manager Dick Williams; that is until he left starter-turned-reliever Vida Blue to bail him out in the clinching game of the ALCS. Blue accused Odom of “choking” and Odom had to be held back from going after Blue.
There was no one to hold back “Blue Moon” and closer Rollie Fingers prior to Game 1 of the 1974 World Series; with the latter requiring stitches before going on to earn MVP honors for the Series. Ironically, Odom relieved Blue in the deciding game. No punches were thrown afterwards.
For more on John “Blue Moon” Odom’s life after baseball, click here. (Note: the retrospective is from 2001).
So you think the A’s have attendance issues? How about Opening Night 1975 when Oakland – fresh off its third consecutive World Series crown – was greeted by a paltry crowd of 17,477? The three-game series against the White Sox drew 26,750.
That’s 26,750 fans. In three games. For the three-time World Champions.
Vida Blue didn’t seem to mind, and he was his usual efficient self, combining with Rollie Fingers to hold Chicago to two runs on eight hits in the A’s 3-2 win that took just 2 hours, 12 minutes to play. See this is what life was like before between-inning entertainment took over the sport. /Old man rant over.
For an excellent read on Vida Blue, please click here.
Lastly, a Happy Birthday wish to the late Hall-of-Famer Jim "Catfish" Hunter.