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Oakland A’s History: The Two Glory Eras

The Oakland A’s have had their share of good runs. The modern editions of the A’s have been known for general manager Billy Beane, immortalized in the movie Moneyball, and his ability to produce playoff teams on a shoestring budget. Beane’s A’s have made several trips to the postseason. But when it comes to real greatness, you dig further into the past.

There have been a pair of three-year stretches where the Oakland A’s were the gold standard in all of baseball. They won three straight World Series titles from 1972-74. And from 1988-90, they captured three straight American League pennants, won one World Series and their defeats in the other two are notable for how surprising the result was. Those historical periods are captured in the articles here.

The 1972-74 A’s were actually part of a broader run that included AL West titles in 1971 and 1975. It was the era of Reggie and Rudi, of Vida Blue and Ken Holtzman. Of Rollie Fingers and his handlebar mustache and the infield work of Bert Campaneris and Sal Bando. They had a colorful owner in Charlie Finley, who clashed with his managers and the baseball establishment.

There was a twelve-year stretch that was mostly desolate, save for a division title in the strike year of 1981. But that proved to be an aberration rather than revival. Oakland truly returned to the national stage in 1988. By then, Tony LaRussa was the manager and the A’s were defined by “The Bash Brothers”. Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire’s legacies have each taken a hit due to PED use, but back in the day they were simply the most feared duo in the game.

And Oakland had an exquisitely well-balanced lineup, keyed by Hall of Fame leadoff hitter Rickey Henderson. They could pitch. Dave Stewart was a true workhorse and one of the great big-game pitchers of his era. Bob Welch had a 27-win season. Dennis Eckersley left his lasting legacy as a closer. And LaRussa changed the way the game is managed, with his creative use of the bullpen. These achievements live on untarnished by the verdict of history.

So enjoy this ride through the two glory eras of the Oakland A’s. The articles on 1972-74 cover both the regular season and the game-by-game narrative through the playoffs. The 1988-90 period is split into three separate articles per year, one for the regular season, another for the ALCS and finally for the World Series.

1972: Run To The World Series Title
1973: Run To The World Series Title
1974: Run To The World Series Title

1988 AL West Champs
1988 ALCS
1988 World Series

1989 AL West Champs
1989 ALCS
1989 World Series

1990 AL West Champs
1990 ALCS
1990 World Series