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Oakland A’s unveil Top 50 players for 50th anniversary

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The 50 best Oakland A’s, from 1968 to 2017.

Blue Moon, Vida, Rickey, and Stew
John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s announced their 50th anniversary team on Monday. The list includes the 50 greatest Oakland A’s players, as voted by fans in an online poll during the season. The top vote-getter was Rickey Henderson, obviously.

Here’s the full list. They’re organized by position, and then alphabetically within each group. There are six Hall of Famers: Fingers, Eckersley, Henderson, Hunter, Jackson, Thomas.

Starting pitchers

  • Vida Blue
  • Dallas Braden
  • Sonny Gray
  • Ken Holtzman
  • Tim Hudson
  • Catfish Hunter
  • Mark Mulder
  • Mike Norris
  • Blue Moon Odom
  • Dave Stewart
  • Bob Welch
  • Curt Young
  • Barry Zito

Relief pitchers

  • Sean Doolittle
  • Dennis Eckersley
  • Rollie Fingers

Catchers

  • Ray Fosse
  • Terry Steinbach
  • Kurt Suzuki
  • Gene Tenace
  • Stephen Vogt

1st Base

  • Jason Giambi
  • Scott Hatteberg
  • Mark McGwire
  • Frank Thomas

2nd Base

  • Mark Ellis
  • Mike Gallego
  • Dick Green
  • Tony Phillips

Shortstop

  • Bert Campaneris
  • Miguel Tejada
  • Walt Weiss

3rd Base

  • Sal Bando
  • Eric Chavez
  • Josh Donaldson
  • Carney Lansford

Left Field

  • Eric Byrnes
  • Yoenis Cespedes
  • Khris Davis
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Joe Rudi

Center Field

  • Coco Crisp
  • Dave Henderson
  • Dwayne Murphy
  • Billy North

Right Field

  • Jose Canseco
  • Jermaine Dye
  • Reggie Jackson
  • Josh Reddick
  • Nick Swisher

Not a bad list! Of course there will be disagreements on the margins, but the fans did a perfectly fine job here. The least represented position is shortstop, with only three names, but on the other hand Phillips was really a super-sub utilityman rather than a pure 2B. He spent a lot of time at both middle infield positions, so perhaps there are really 3.5 players listed at each of 2B and SS.

According to the team’s press release: “The 50th Anniversary team features a combined seven Most Valuable Player Awards, five Cy Youngs, three Rookies of the Year, 81 All-Star Game selections, 20 Gold Gloves, and 50 World Series rings as members of the Oakland A’s.” Here’s a neat video!

The best way to judge a list like this is to look at the top snubs. In September, Billy Frijoles previewed this topic and put together his version of the Top 50. Some names he voted for that didn’t make the final cut (in order of position):

  • Justin Duchscherer, Dan Haren, Rick Langford, Andrew Bailey, Grant Balfour, Chad Bradford, Rick Honeycutt, Brad Ziegler, Brandon Moss, Jack Cust, Tony Armas

And some other notables, who were either honorably mentioned in Billy’s post or brought up in the comments:

  • Bartolo Colon, Rich Harden, Mike Moore, Keith Foulke, Jason Isringhausen, Billy Koch, Huston Street, Ramon Hernandez, Mike Bordick, Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro, Eric Sogard, Wayne Gross, Geronimo Berroa, Mark Kotsay, Matt Stairs

Those are lots of good players and beloved names! There are probably a couple of tweaks I’d make to the Top 50 list, but honestly none of the snubs are egregious enough to get worked up about. At least, for the most part:

Axford didn’t make the list, but for what it’s worth he will presumably either direct or star in the next Hollywood movie about the A’s.

In terms of the more legit snubs:

Awww.

Yay!

There are unlimited ways that online fan votes can go wrong, but this one turned out nicely. Well done, A’s fans!