They are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the A’s 1974 World Series championship team this weekend, and there is one exceptionally strong link between that team and the current one.
Sal Bando, the third baseman in Oakland when the A’s won three consecutive World Series title, was the general manager in Milwaukee when he hired a young catcher whose career as a player was over to scout.
The scout’s name was Bob Melvin, the man at the helm of the A’s now.
“As a general manager you are always looking for quality baseball people,’’ Bando said in looking back to that 1996 hiring. “He was definitely that. It was to our advantage to bring someone like that aboard.
Jed Lowrie was confronted with something odd Friday.
He came to the Coliseum and saw his name in the lineup, as usual.
He was listed as the second baseman, which was anything but usual. He was a semi-regular second baseman with the Red Sox back in 2010, but he’d only played one game there since, that in 2011.
Ken Holtzman, Rollie Fingers and Sal Bando were among the attendees at the 1973 World Series champion A's reunion Friday
You know who knows something about April struggles?
Besides the current crop of A’s, of course.
Well, members of the 1973 World Series championship A’s team are here this weekend, and they lived it.
Legendary A’s third baseman Sal Bando visited camp Friday and was introduced to the team by manager Bob Melvin. Melvin, a Bay Area native, wears No. 6 in honor of Bando – captain of Oakland’s World Series championship teams of 1972-74 – and Melvin wants his players to be exposed to some of the franchise greats.
“I think it’s important that these guys understand the history,” Melvin said. “So whenever we have a guy like him around — one of the all-time great A’s — I think it’s important we share that with our guys.”
Manny Ramirez is starting at designated hitter for Friday’s Cactus League opener against Seattle, but Melvin said he’ll pencil in Jonny Gomes as DH for Saturday’s game against the Mariners in Peoria. Ramirez won’t be eligible for the A’s first 50 games while he serves a suspension, so the A’s need to get looks at their other DH candidates who are available for the start of the season. The evaluation period is shorter than usual this spring as the A’s open the regular season March 28 against Seattle in Tokyo.
“We know which guys we need to give more at-bats, and we’re in a little bit of a rush,” Melvin said. “We’re outta here on the 22nd,(to travel to Tokyo), and typically you like to get ‘X’ amount of plate appearances for guys. We’re going to be a little bit short of that, but we understand where we are.”