When the A’s moved to Oakland in 1968, during the first week of the season, a local high schooler named Steve Vucinich got a job with the team as a ballboy. On Sunday, with the 2021 campaign drawing to a close, he celebrated his final home game as an employee of the organization.
Vucinich spent 54 seasons with the A’s, including the past 28 years as the club’s equipment manager. In March he announced his intention to retire at the end of next spring, making Sunday’s regular season finale his last game at the Coliseum.
The team honored Vucinich with a pregame ceremony, during which they announced they will name the stadium’s home clubhouse after him.
“Thank you to everybody. I just hope that everyone here, one day, can feel as appreciative as I do right now,” said Vucinich at the end of an emotional speech.
The 69-year-old has been around for the A’s entire Oakland era. His journey included time as an assistant in the home clubhouse, then a couple decades as the visiting clubhouse manager, before settling into his current role as the equipment manager. Vuc has seen it all, and he’s the longest-tenured employee in franchise history, equaling the duration of legendary Philadelphia owner/manager Connie Mack.
With those credentials, it’s no wonder Vucinich has become such a beloved member of the organization. He will also be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2022. He shared some favorite memories with John Shea of the S.F. Chronicle, and you can click here to listen to him tell his story about how hitting coach Joe DiMaggio helped him get the ballboy job back in 1968.
Congrats to Vuc on an amazing career with our favorite team!
54 years of excellence.— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 26, 2021
Thank you for everything, Vuc. pic.twitter.com/MfAhQlIjly