Thursday, July 26, 2018

Around the Horn: Oakland A's

I mentioned back in my anniversary post that one thing I'm going to start going is showing off some of the cards of my collection, team by team. This will help me do two things ... 1) I'll be able to keep a visual catalog of cards in my collection knowing what I have and don't have, and 2) it'll provide for some fun blog posts hopefully. Now, I won't be showing every card I have of a team as I have way too many cards to take pictures of and document, but I'll be showing some of the better stuff and lots of my general favorites along with player collections (both intentional and non-intentional).

I'll start with baseball and in the American League since my cards are divided my league. First up, the Oakland A's ...

The A's are one of the original American League teams despite residing in three different cities throughout their tenure. They've been in Oakland now way longer than they were in Kansas City and nearly as long as they were in Philadelphia, where old Connie Mack managed the team way back when.

I felt it appropriate to start with this card, which just happens to be one of my favorite cards of my collection.

This card is the card that got me into collecting Dennis Eckersley cards. When I first saw this card while collecting as a kid, the picture on it was the craziest thing I'd ever seen. Numerous times I tried to emulate his delivery on this card while playing baseball in my grandparents backyard, and every single time I never could quite get it right. This is by far my favorite card from the 1991 Fleer set and probably my favorite Eckersley card in my collection right now.

Here are some more Eckersley cards with interesting pictures. The photography on his cards is the main reason that I collect his cards. They're just really unique.

Just for the A's alone, I've got 27 different Eckersley cards, which comprise the majority of my collection of his. I think I've got one or two of him with Cleveland and a few more of him with the Cubs. I don't think I have any Red Sox or Cardinals cards from what I remember but I guess I'll find out when I get to those teams. That's the beauty of this project, rediscovering cards I'd forgotten I had.

In terms of unintentional player collections, Rickey Henderson is probably tops in that category. While I don't actively seek out his cards, if I find one cheap or pull one out of a pack, I won't complain.

Jose Canseco is someone else that fits in the unintentional PC category. These are the Canseco cards I've got that didn't really fit into any of the other groups I took pictures of.

As I noted earlier, before the A's were in Oakland or Kansas City, they were the second team in Philadelphia. While I don't have many cards documenting their time there, these are my two favorites. I don't know much about Walt French but Baseball Reference shows he spent six years with the club through the 1920s. Grover Cleveland Alexander though, now there's a real blast from the past. I know a lot of people hate on Panini for making cards that can't show the team name and logo but I've said it many times in the past, their Diamond Kings line are some of the best cards on the market. 

I don't have any actual vintage cards from the Philly days but one thing I would like to get is a 1952 Topps card from the A's. Speaking of vintage, I do love me some vintage cards, no matter what team or year (the older the better honestly) and there's a lot to love here, from the two cool 1960 Topps cards (a set in which I'm liking better every time I see it) to the 1963 Fleer Dick Howser, and my favorite, the 1961 Topps Joe Nuxhall, which just happens to be the only non-Reds card of him that's out there.

70s cards of Swingin' A's cornerstones Vida Blue and Gene Tenace. These are just some great looking cards I think, especially the 1970 card with both of them on it. But my favorite has to be 1971. While I'm not building the 1971 set (it's too expensive for me) I do have a goal to get as many cards from the set I can afford which will mostly be commons and semi-stars.

Can't go wrong with "Blue Moon" Odom, especially a 1970 card with two giant water towers in the background.

Behind 1971, 1973 is my second favorite set of the 1970s, primarily because of the design and the photography. I've got the same goal with 1973 as I do with 1971, get as many cards as I can without breaking the bank.

Team cards! I love team vintage team cards. I need to get a team card of the Kansas City A's at some point.

I forgot when or where along the line I got this Reggie Jackson Kellogg's card but it's a beauty for sure, as is anything Kellogg's from this time.

Moving on to the 80s, first up are these Jose Rijo cards. Rijo pitched three seasons for the A's, was traded to the Reds in the 1987-88 offseason for Dave Parker, and was a mainstay in the Reds rotation until 1995 when he blew his shoulder out. He made a miraculous comeback in late 2001, pitched for the Reds in 2002 and retired after the season. Oh, did I mention he walloped his former team in the 1990 World Series?

Some cool 1985 Topps cards ... I'd forgotten that Kingman wound up his career in Oakland.

Joe Morgan played the last year of his career for the A's at second base in 1984 and because of this he got some cards in the 1985 issues. I picked this up for a quarter at a card shop a while back.

I've got quite a few 1987 A's cards, mostly commons though. When I first got back into collecting, one of the things I bought was a box of 1987 Topps for $12. I was pretty excited to open it and I spaced it out over a month. Both of these cards came from that box and I remember I was really excited with I pulled them out.

I kinda sorta collect Ramon Hernandez, mainly because he was a really fun player to watch when he was with the Reds for the stretch under Dusty Baker when they were actually good. I wouldn't say it's a player collection by any means but who knows, these two cards may be a start.

The one thing I really like about A's cards is the way the green and gold uniforms just pop right off the card and these four pretty much set that tone.


Royals speedster and stalwart Willie Wilson went to the A's as a free agent in the winter of 1990 and spent two years in Oakland primarily as an outfielder. Willie Randolph spent the majority of 1990 in Oakland after being shipped over in May in exchange for Stan Javier. He played 93 games for the A's team and was on the postseason roster and part of the team that got swept by the Reds.

A bunch of cool random cards I'd forgotten I had. Ben Grieve was supposed to be a superstar prospect but it didn't quite work out so well. Ruben Sierra had a few good decent seasons in Oakland in the 90s after being shipped over in the Jose Canseco deal.

I always thought Ron Darling spent his whole career with the Mets but I guess he pitched some in Oakland as well. Mid 90s cards are like the early 80s cards, you come across players you know but yet they're in unfamiliar uniforms. 


Speaking of players in unfamiliar uniforms, how about Mike Piazza and Matt Holliday? Mike Piazza closed out his career in 2007 with the A's mostly as a DH. The card shown is a 2008 Topps card, which just happens to be his "sunset card" as well. Matt Holliday is someone I'd forgotten spent time in Oakland when I pulled this card out of an O-Pee-Chee rack pack I found for about two bucks a few years ago.

The only other A's cards I have from the 2000s. My collection of these is very sparse and I would love to add more to it.


Here are probably my two favorite cards in the unfamiliar uniform parade, Ben Zobrist and Manny Ramirez. The A's acquired Ben Zobrist in January of 2015 and he appeared in 67 games for them before being traded to the eventual World Series Champion Royals at the trade deadline that season. Until I found this card, I'd forgotten all about his brief stint in the green and gold. Manny never played a single game for the A's but yet somehow got a card in the 2012 Topps set. I'm still not sure how zero-year cards come to be but they are certainly a wonderful thing.

Dan Straily was the Reds best pitcher in the train wreck that was the 2016 season, hence the reason that if I come across a card of his, I tend to pick it up.

And I'll wrap this up by showing all the A's cards from 2010-present that are currently in my collection. 

So that's it, the majority of my Oakland A's collection. So, I'm curious, did you like this post? This was a first effort so I know it's a little rough around the edges but I think I did a pretty good job. Trust me, I went through about three different versions before the one you see now. Is there any feedback on how you would format this for future posts? What did you like? Dislike? Let me know.


  1. I don't know how much weight my opinion carries, but I thought it was a solid post, and think that it should make for a fine series! I didn't see anything that I disliked, so I can't really help on that front.

  2. I look at that Fleet Eck card and wonder how is arm could stretch like that. He truly had a rubber arm!

  3. I liked it a lot! Is there going to be a predefined order that you go thru the teams, or just random AL followed by random NL?

    1. I'm going through teams based on the order they are in in my boxes. The AL boxes were easier to pull out first so that why I started with the A's. Next will be the Angels, and so on in alphabetical order by team name, then the N.L. will follow after that.

  4. Awesome post. And I'm not just saying this because I'm an A's fan. I enjoyed the opportunity to see cards you normally might never see on someone's blog with commentary. By the way... I've been meaning to to a 70's A's team card post for years. Looks like you beat me to the punch.

  5. So much green! I'm seeing the A's tonight at Coors. Nice post! Eckersley has a handful of Red Sox cards in that 1993 Ultra insert set.

  6. Great post, looking forward to some more of these!