Long Live the Oakland A’s

It’s a rather unfortunate day in sports history, though not something that was unexpected. The Oakland Athletics, a baseball team that has won four World Series titles, are moving to a new home in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the third major team to move out of Oakland in the past five years, after the Golden State Warriors and Las Vegas Raiders.

While the Athletics are far from a great team in the present day, they have a rich history of success. The A’s roots go way back to the beginnings of the twentieth century, and far away from California. Their inaugural season was in 1901 in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. During their time in Philadelphia, the Athletics won five World Series titles, all five under owner and manager Connie Mack. Connie Mack would manage the A’s for 50 seasons, retiring in 1950 at the age of 87. 

After a brief thirteen season pit stop in Kansas City, the Athletics settled into their longtime home at the Oakland Coliseum in 1968, sharing the stadium with the Oakland Raiders.

Though their move to Kansas City was quite uneventful, the A’s move to Oakland was very exciting, as they won three consecutive World Series titles during the 1972, ’73 and ’74 seasons. Their best players during the early days in Oakland included stars such as Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, and the dangerous power hitting slugger Reggie Jackson.

The start of the A’s second title run occurred in August of 1980, when Walter A Haas Jr, the chairman of Levi Strauss & Co, bought the Oakland Athletics for just $13 million. This was a very significant day for the franchise, as Mr. Haas bought the team to avoid them being sold to Marvin Davis, who intended to move the team to Denver. 

Under the ownership of Walter A Haas Jr, the Oakland Athletics became one the most dominant teams in all of baseball. Featuring the two best power hitters in all of baseball, that being the “bash brothers” Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, the A’s reached three consecutive World Series from 1988-1990, winning one in 1989 over the San Francisco Giants. 

A monumental change occurred when Haas passed away in 1995, and the team was sold to new owners Stephen Schott and Kenneth Hofmann. Under the new ownership, the A’s tried to spend as little money as possible, focusing much of their spending on building up the minor league system. Their time under this ownership was highlighted in depth in the book and movie Moneyball, where star players such as Barry Zito, Jason Giambi, Tim Hudson and Miguel Tejada led the team to four straight playoff appearances from 2000-2003. 

In 2005, the team was sold to owners Lewis Wolff and John Fisher, the latter being the one who lost much of the fan base after his continuous urge to move the team out of Oakland. This was highlighted on June 13th, 2023 when a near 30,000 fans gathered outside of the Coliseum protesting for Fisher to sell the team to an owner who will keep the team in Oakland. Fisher has even gone out of his way to trade away nearly every star player on the A’s roster, players including Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Mark Cahna, Starling Marte, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas. This was most likely done to drive Oakland fans out of the stadium as the team began to suffer from little talent, holding the worst record in baseball during the 2023 season. 

Fisher got what he wanted, and on November 16th, 2023, all thirty MLB owners approved the A’s to move to Las Vegas, leaving behind their longtime home in Oakland. Though they will no longer be called the Oakland A’s, they will still play the 2024 season at the Oakland Coliseum, as they leased the stadium until 2024. Their new stadium in Las Vegas is not expected to be finished until 2028, so where they will play after 2024 is still unknown. What is known is that it will not be in Oakland, ending one of the greatest baseball tenures in history. Long live the Oakland Athletics.