(American League, West Division)
They’ve been athletic in Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Oakland – flexing their way to 15 pennants and nine championships fueled by Jimmie Foxx, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Dennis Eckersley and Mark McGwire.
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Active 26 Man Roster
Catchers & Infielders:
- C – Mickey Cochrane
- C – Terry Steinbach
- 1B – Jimmie Foxx (3B)
- 2B – Bob Johnson (LF/CF)
- SS – Jimmy Dykes (1B/2B/3B)
- 3B – Matt Chapman
- CI – Mark McGwire (1B)
- CI – Jason Giambi (1B)
- CI – Matt Olson (1B)
- MI – Miguel Tejada (SS)
- LF – Al Simmons
- CF – Rickey Henderson (LF/RF)
- RF – Reggie Jackson (CF)
- OF – Jose Canseco (LF/RF)
- SP – Rube Waddell
- SP – Chief Bender
- SP – Eddie Plank
- SP – Lefty Grove
- SP – Catfish Hunter
- SP – Jack Coombs
- CL – Dennis Eckersley
- SU – Rollie Fingers
- RP – Sonny Gray
- RP – Scott Perry
- RP – Dave Stewart
- RP – Vida Blue
On the Farm
Catchers & Infielders:
- C – Ramon Hernandez
- 3B – Frank Baker
- 3B – Sal Bando
- SS – Marcus Semien
- SS – Eddie Joost
- LF – Khris Davis
- 1B/LF – Matt Stairs
- RF – Wally Moses
- P – Rick Honeycutt
- P – Jack Quinn
- P – Bobby Shantz
- P – Bullet Joe Bush
- P – Ken Holtzman
- P – Barry Zito
Building the Roster: Oakland A’s
The Athletics have a long and impressive history to draw from – their roots run through Kansas City and all the way back to Philadelphia. Stops in three cities mask that the Athletics have been stalwart members of the American League since 1901.
With every team, we started building their all-time 25-man and 40-man rosters by using the Hall of Fame as a starting point, figuring that a player enshrined in baseball’s immortal Hall would certainly qualify to make his team’s all-time roster.
Almost all the Hall of Fame members are easily identifiable with one team so it’s a simple way to start every roster with near-inarguable selections. There are a few brilliant players who made significant contributions to multiple teams, and it’s our job to decide where they made the biggest impact.
Kansas City has to fight for Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire, Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue, Tim Hudson, and Dennis Eckersley:
Oakland: 8 seasons, 2-time All-Star, 1 MVP, 28.8 WAR, .300 AVG, 640 Runs, 715 RBI, 198 HR, 9 SB
N.Y. Yankees: 7 seasons, 1-time All-Star, 0 MVPs, 9 WAR, .260 AVG, 515 Runs, 604 RBI, 209 HR, 9 SB
Oakland: 12 seasons, 9-time All-Star, 0 MVPs, 42.9 WAR, .260 AVG, 773 Runs, 941 RBI, 363 HR, 12 SB + 1 World Series Title
St. Louis: 5 seasons, 3-time All-Star, 0 MVPs, 19.3 WAR, .270 AVG, 394 Runs, 473 RBI, 220 HR, 4 SB
Oakland: 10 seasons, 6-time All-Star, 1 MVP, 48.1 WAR, .262 AVG, 756 Runs, 776 RBI, 269 HR, 145 SB +3 World Series Titles
N.Y. Yankees: 5 seasons, 5-time All-Star, 0 MVP, 17.2 WAR, .281 AVG, 380 Runs, 461 RBI, 144 HR, 41 SB + 2 World Series Titles
L.A. Angels: 5 seasons, 3-time All-Star, 0 MVPs, 3.5 WAR, .239 AVG, 331 Runs, 374 RBI, 123 HR, 14 SB + one assassination attempt of Queen Elizabeth II 😊
Oakland: 9 seasons, 3-time All-Star, 1 CYA, 29 WAR, 2.95 ERA, 124 Wins, 105 CG, 1315 K, 1945 IP, SHO + 3 World Series titles
San Francisco: 6 seasons, 3-time All-Star, 0 CYA, 13.9 WAR, 3.52 ERA, 72 Wins, 31 CG, 704 K, 1131 IP, 7 SHO
Oakland: 6 seasons, 2-time All-Star, 0 CYA, 31 WAR, 92 Wins, 16 CG, 899 K, 1240 IP, 8 SHO
Atlanta: 9 seasons, 1 All-Star, 0 CYA, 24.1 WAR, 113 Wins, 9 CG, 997 K, 1573 IP, 5 SHO
Boston: 8 seasons, 1 All-Star, 0 CYA, 21.9 WAR, 3.92 ERA, 88 Wins, 64 CG, 771 K, 1371 IP, 10 SHO
Oakland: 9 seasons, 4-time All-Star, 1 CYA, 1 MVP, 16 WAR, 2.74 ERA, 41 Wins, 320 Saves, 658 K, 637 IP + 1 World Series Title
Most of these are pretty clear – Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire, Reggie Jackson, and Vida Blue have superior statistics and more time in Oakland than anywhere else.
Dennis Eckersley is a little more tricky since he was a starter for the Red Sox and a closer for the Athletics. The numbers for Eck favor Oakland, and I think everyone would agree that he was a more dominant closer for the A’s than he was a starter for the Red Sox.
Tim Hudson’s numbers are split really evenly, but the edge goes to Atlanta with time spent (nine seasons vs. six) as the tiebreaker.
As with every team, we are trying to build an active roster with 13 position players and 12 pitchers, and then a 15-player inactive roster of guys who just missed the cut, but remain valuable as callups in case of slumps or injuries.
The 13 active position players are usually two catchers, six infielders, and five outfielders. The stats are built around the average of the player’s best three consecutive seasons.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame gives us a good start to Oakland’s roster. Cooperstown gives the Athletics Mickey Cochrane, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons (not Spawn), Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Rube Waddell, Chief Bender, Eddie Plank, Lefty Grove, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, and Frank “Home Run” Baker.
With 13 players coming from Cooperstown, WAR (Wins Above Replacement), a great stat for looking at the all-around contribution to a team for both hitters and pitchers, can help us find the rest.
We get lots of help here, as in order we find: Eddie Collins, Sal Bando, Bert Campaneris, Bob Johnson, Harry Davis, Max Bishop, Danny Murphy, Eric Chavez, Dwayne Murphy, Jason Giambi, Jimmy Dykes, Jose Canseco, and Khris Davis.
Because each team should have a couple shortstops and catchers, Marcus Semien, Miguel Tejada, Eddie Joost, Terry Steinbach, and Cy Perkins merit consideration as well.
Once plugged into the simulation software, we looked at their OPS (on-base + slugging percentage) and their defensive rankings and they break down like this:
CATCHER: Mickey Cochrane, Terry Steinbach
FIRST BASE: Jimmie Foxx, Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi
SECOND BASE: Bob Johnson
SHORTSTOP: Jimmy Dykes, Miguel Tejada
THIRD BASE: Matt Chapman, Jimmie Foxx (sometimes)
LEFT FIELD: Al Simmons, Bob Johnson (sometimes)
CENTER FIELD: Rickey Henderson
RIGHT FIELD: Reggie Jackson
Most of Oakland’s games will include a designated hitter so that will provide some at-bats for Mark McGwire/Jason Giambi/Miguel Tejada.
That leaves inactive roster options for Matt Stairs, Eric Chavez, Wally Moses, Frank “Home Run” Baker, Sal Bando, Marcus Semien, Khris Davis, Ramon Hernandez, and Eddie Joost.
For the pitching staff we’re looking for six starters and six relievers. Bear in mind that across the whole game you will see dynamic, outstanding starting pitchers that can’t crack an all-time rotation but are better served as relievers on a team than sitting inactive.
Hall of Fame pitchers automatically belong on the roster so we have seven slots taken by Rube Waddell, Chief Bender, Eddie Plank, Lefty Grove, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, and Dennis Eckersley.
With 29 players on the total roster we have room for 11 more pitchers. Once we dug into the career WAR rankings (as Athletics) we came up with: Eddie Rommel, Tim Hudson, Rube Walberg, Barry Zito, Jack Coombs, Mark Mulder, Bobby Shantz, Dave Stewart, Jack Quinn, George Earnshaw, and Scott Perry.
We looked at their overall numbers in the simulation software and leaned heavily on ERA to come up with these designations:
STARTING ROTATION: Rube Waddell, Chief Bender, Eddie Plank, Lefty Grove, Catfish Hunter, Jack Coombs
RELIEVERS: Vida Blue, Dave Stewart, Scott Perry, Bullet Joe Bush
SET-UP: Rollie Fingers
CLOSER: Dennis Eckersley
As much as I like the idea of Rollie Fingers setting up Dennis Eckersley (as the all-time mustache reliever tag team champions) it’s the starting rotation that’s a stunner, with Hall of Famers #1 through #5 (Waddell/Bender/Plank/Grove/Hunter).
The inactive pitcher options are Jack Quinn, Ken Holtzman, Bobby Shantz, Eddie Rommel, Rick Honeycutt, and Barry Zito.
So how did we do?
Can you leave Khris Davis and his 44 homers on the inactive roster?
Can you live with Rickey Henderson in center field?
Does Bob Johnson need some backup at second base?
Let us know in the forums below and if you make a compelling case we will adapt it in-game. We want every squad to be the best they possibly can be and appreciate your help fine-tuning the Royals for Eternal Baseball.
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Give your 2 cents on the composition of the roster!