On Friday, Jeremy F. Koo brought to our attention that Grammy-winning singer Bruno Mars rocked an Oakland A's hat in his announcement that he would be performing at Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara. In fact, it's not the first time he's been seen in A's gear, and although he has also repped many other teams in public I don't think it's a stretch to suggest (or at least hope?) that he counts the green and gold among whatever sports fandom he might have.
That got me thinking. What other celebrities count themselves as A's fans? And I don't just mean those who wear an A's hat now and then because, let's be real, A's hats look awesome and their colors are a refreshing break from the sea of blue and red that make up the majority of other teams' styles. And I don't mean people who just liked (or were in) the movie Moneyball. No, I'm talking about famous folks who actually state that they are fans of our team.
I'm also disqualifying athletes from other local sports teams, because as much as I love that Warriors All-Star Klay Thompson showed up to a game (and threw out the first pitch at another), the fact remains that he plays for a club with close ties to the A's. If you attached a hoop to the season ticket entrance at the Coliseum, I'm fairly certain Klay could hit the shot from one step outside Oracle Arena -- that's how close we are. So, big ups to Klay for repping the A's, but it doesn't make me assume he'd be rooting for them if he didn't play for the Warriors.
Here's the list I've come up with so far. If I missed anyone, which I almost certainly did, tell us about them in the comments and I'll add the best ones to this post.
1. Tom Hanks
There's no debate about the top spot. Between his huge star power and the absolute, unquestioned certainty of his lifelong allegiance, Hanks is the most famous A's fan on the planet. His fandom goes back to his childhood, as we learn in this excerpt from Susan Slusser's wonderful book, 100 Things A's Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die:
Another celeb who worked at the Coliseum as a teen: Skyline High School's Tom Hanks, who was a popcorn and peanut vender before going onto Hollywood stardom -- and eventually a baseball role, as a manager in A League Of Their Own.
Since those days, Hanks has won a pair of Oscars for Best Actor (for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump), but he still roots for our boys as he showed on WhoSay in 2014:
I have a confession, Tom: I'm pretty sure I cried after we got knocked out of the 2014 Wild Card Game. Please don't be disappointed.
2. Barack Obama
This one was news to me, but apparently there are a lot of A's fans in Hawaii. Hat tip to Reddit for opening my eyes to this gem of a YouTube video:
Now, politicians say a lot of things to make people happy. But he's famous for representing Chicago, and he's sitting in on a broadcast of a Phillies/Nats game, wearing a National League All-Star jacket. There is utterly no reason for him to pay lip service to the Oakland A's unless he really means it. Thank you, Mr. President.
3. MC Hammer
You already know about this one. Stanley Burrell would dance in the Coliseum parking lot to raise money, and then-owner Charlie Finley noticed him and gave him a job as a batboy. He eventually became a close confidant of Finley's and rose to the rank of Vice President within the front office, and according to the box of his official Oakland A's bobblehead (a stadium giveaway in 2011), Reggie Jackson gave him the nickname Hammer (due to his resemblance to Hammerin' Hank Aaron). The musician made sure to show the love in his most famous music videos, including "U Can't Touch This" and the Coliseum favorite "2 Legit 2 Quit" (the song starts at 8:30 of this lengthy video, and check out his jacket):
4. Green Day
Probably the most famous band to come out of 924 Gilman Street (and that's saying a lot), the guys of Green Day are big enough now to have their own Fireworks Night at the Coliseum. Drummer Tre Cool threw out the first pitch at a 2013 game, and Susan Slusser was able to confirm that they are indeed fans of the team. (Note: singer Billie Joe Armstrong was born in Oakland, and bassist Mike Dirnt was born in Berkeley; both grew up in the Bay Area. Cool was born Germany but grew up in Willits, in Mendocino County.)
And while we're on the subject of local punk bands, add Rancid in there too.
5. Andy Samberg
Former Saturday Night Live star Samberg was born in Berkeley, went to Berkeley High School, and later spent a couple years at UC Santa Cruz. He's often seen wearing an A's hat, whether in his own music videos, at the airport, or at a Dubs game:
I didn't find a specific quote from him regarding the A's, though I also didn't look that hard. But it's not difficult to connect the dots on this one, with a local boy who is often seen in an A's hat and seemingly never repping another baseball team.
6. Mrs. Fields
This one is also from Slusser's book. I'm not going to go into detail because you should just buy the book and read it yourself. But the short version is that her first job was as a ballgirl for Finley's A's and she would make cookies for the fans and umpires.
Seriously, go buy Slusser's book. You will not regret it. "Join Athletics Nation" is one of the 100 things, by the way!
7. Blake Anderson
You may not know the name offhand, but this is Blake from the sitcom Workaholics. Okay, you still might not know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't heard of that show yet then there's a good chance it isn't for you. But Anderson is a funny guy, he has awesome hair (fitting for an A's fan), and he went to Clayton Valley High School. Take it from the man himself:
Golden State Warriors. Oakland Athletics. San Jose Sharks.— Blake Anderson (@UncleBlazer) November 4, 2012
@mressnathans actually I'm a Oakland A's guy— Blake Anderson (@UncleBlazer) August 7, 2012
8. Damian Lillard
Alright, I know I disqualified Klay earlier, but this is different. Lillard is another All-Star NBA guard, but he plays for the Portland Trail Blazers and so his fandom is not a lightweight job requirement. He was born in Oakland and went to Oakland High School, and he was just as bummed about losing that Wild Card Game as we were. This nugget, from The Oregonian:
For Lillard, who wears the No. 0 as an homage to the places he's played in -- for Oakland, Oregon and Ogden, Utah, where he went to college -- it was merely the latest depressing moment in the life of an A's fan.
9. Marshawn Lynch
The Seahawks' superstar running back was born in Oakland, went to high school at Oakland Tech, and then later college at Cal. It's not hard to find pictures of him in A's gear, and as a Seattle star there is no way he'd do that unless he meant it. Still looking for a quote from him specifying his fandom, but he makes the cut for now.
10. Jim Harbaugh
I didn't include Harbaugh at first because I wasn't sure if he fell under the "local sports team" rule alongside Klay, for being the coach of Stanford and then the 49ers. However, he has quite a bit going for him: he attended Palo Alto High School, he's friends with manager Bob Melvin (who was born in Palo Alto), and most importantly he coached first base for Oakland in spring training last year. He's also a fan of Coco Crisp and prefers the high socks, which only helps his case. But still, I wasn't sure if all that was enough to differentiate him as an A's fan, as opposed to a general Bay Area sports fan.
However, I actually received an e-mail in response to this article, from someone who claimed to have gone to some A's games with Harbaugh and spoken with the coach personally. This person claimed that Harbs definitely sides with the A's, that he roots for them over the Giants, and that when he wore Giants gear it was mostly to keep up appearances as the coach of a fellow SF team. You know what? That's good enough for me. I also just really like Harbaugh. He's in.
11. Adam Duritz
The lead singer of Counting Crows is a life-long fan and grew up with season tickets, according the A's official site. The band has sold over 10 million albums during its run, and Wikipedia has the following to say about Duritz's style:
Duritz's lyrics have been described as "morose" and "tortured" and as "wordy introspection" and his vocals "expressive"
Yup, that sounds like an A's fan.
- I'm willing to listen to arguments for Brad Pitt, but it has to involve more than just portraying Billy Beane in Moneyball. Was he already a fan of the team before that? Does he still follow them, even during a depressing season like 2015? If you can prove it, I'll add him.
- Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino (and Troy from Community), has been seen in an A's hat and has included stuff about Oakland in his song lyrics. Convince me and he's in. That guy is awesome.
Alright, who did I miss? Share more famous A's fans in the comments! Here's another music video (filmed in the Coliseum!) while you think about it: