When you finish last in almost every offensive category and next to last in pitching there is a very good chance you will finish last in the standing. Based on those expectations, the 1979 Oakland A’s did not disappoint. To say this once dominant franchise had hit rock bottom would be an understatement. Losing well over 100 games is usually indicative of how bad you really are. What it did not indicate is that there was plenty of young talent waiting to mature into a very good team. For the past 4 seasons the A’s had begun stockpiling young arms and fast legs. While that didn’t translate into wins during this season, it would over the next few. 20 year old speedster Rickey Henderson, who would eventually become the all time stolen base king, got his first taste of major league ball with this club. Dwayne Murphy and Tony Armas would flank him in the outfield to form the nucleus of one of the most dynamic young outfields in the early 80’s. The young arms got roughed up, but over the next 3 years they would blossom into stardom. Mike Norris (5-8, 4.80) would be a 22 game winner the following season. In 2 short years this team would go from 108 losses to playing in the ALCS.
Editor’s Note: Tony and Jim R did a gr8 job compiling these photos. At the 11th hour Jeff Grence added the missing pieces. I’m still looking for a real Milt Ramirez A’s photo in color. Consider that the “White Whale” of this team set. The only touch up work I had to do here was remove the banners from Larry Murray’s 1980 card, which will never see the light of day in ARAIG play since he didn’t play at all after 1979.