A View from Section 139

2001 Oakland Athletics Roster

The Oakland Athletics in 2001 were slow out of the gate like blackstrap molasses.

After 11 games, they sported a record of 2-9! This equaled one of the worst starts in team history. By the end of the regular seasons, no one cared about the losing record. It was all about the run for October!

Here is the roster for opening day 2001.

Chart showing players on starting on opening 2001 for the Oakland Athletics

Johnny Damon

The skateboard-riding-BART-hopping Damon was acquired from the Royals along with Mark Ellis in a 3-team trade , on January 8, 2001. Damon started in 155 games, appearing at the plate 719 times,scored 108 runs and collected 165 hits. His  BA only .256. His salary for 2001 was a whopping $7.1 million. Although he had a terrible arm for an outfielder, he had ended up with a respectable .992 fielding percentage.

Jose Ortiz

Signed by the A’s as an amateur free agent in 1994, made his debut on September 15, 2000. Ortiz started only 11 games, collected 7 hits and  4 runs. His average was a disappointing .167.By July 2001 he was part of the 3-team deal that brought Jermaine Dye from Kansas City and he was dispatched to the Colorado Rockies.

Jason Giambi

The Brewers drafted Jason Giambi in the 43rd round of the June 1989 draft, but he chose not to sign. It wasn’t until the ‘92 amateur draft that he was snagged by the A’s in the second round. This time he promptly signed within a month.

Giambi started 154 games that year. In his 520 AB, he had 178 hits,  including 47 doubles, scored 109 runs, hit 38 home runs, collected 120 RBI and a monster .342 BA. His OPS was a staggering 1.137.

In the TV Guide October 13-19, 2001 cover story, Giambi was described as the A’s “slugging prime minister with upper body so large that each of his tattoos has a separate area code”

According to USA today, Jason Giambi’s  salary for 2001 was $4.1 million.

Olmedo Saenz

Saenz was signed as a free agent on November 13, 1998 after being with the White Sox for 8 years.Chants of ‘Olmeeeedo Signs’ erupted from the left field bleachers each time he approached the batters box.

Saenz started in 106 games, with 304 AB, had 67 hits and 9 home runs. His average was only.220 and his role was reduced to backup player. According to Baseball Reference, his nickname was “Killer Tomato”.

Eric Chavez

Chavez was selected by the A’s as the 10th overall pick in the 1996  draft. By August he was signed and made his debut in September 1998. He started in all but 11 games for the A’s in 2001. With 552 at-bats, he amassed 159 hits with 43 doubles (surprisingly- no triples), 32 home runs. His BA was .288.

2001 Highlights for Chavez included: a career high 8 RBI in a game against the Orioles on  August 30; his first career two-homer game against the White Sox on April 26 in Chicago. The second home run was estimated to travel between 490-500 ft.- the longest at the time in the New Comiskey Park. He followed that performance with a 0-17 streak. His second longest hitless streak of his career to that point.

At Third, his movements were simply brilliant. Involved in turning 27 double plays,321 assists and 100 putouts. At one point during the season Chavez went 21 games without an error and ended the season with a .932 fielding percentage.

Miguel Tejada

On July 17, 1993, the A’s signed Tejada as a non-drafted Free Agent. His debut came on August 27, 1997 starting at SS. What a nightmarish debut – 0-5 against the New York Yankees. “Ironman” Tejada started all 162 games at SS in the 2001 season.

In 622 plate appearances, he scored 107 runs, had 166 hits, 32 HR but only 3 triples with 113 RBI. Batting .326 his on base percentage was.326.

It was his prowess in the field that made “Miggy” a fan favorite. He turned 93 DP, had 473 assists and 256 Putouts and ended the 2001 campaign with a .973 fielding percentage.

On April 14, Tejada hit the 10,000 home run in Oakland A’s history. A solo shot  against  Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers.He also homered in all 3 games against the Blue Jays in Toronto, which gave him six consecutive games with a home run in the Skydome.

The season was not all glory for Tejada. Between June 7 and June 10 he lived thorough a 0-15 hitless streak and committed two errors in the game against the SF Giants on June 17. Tejada bounced back from his earlier struggles with a 13 game hitting streak September 8-29. Here’s what he did: hit 4 HR; 19 RBI; scored 15 runs and ended the streak in grand fashion with a grand slam, while hitting for the cycle against Seattle on September 29!

Terrence Long

Long was drafted by the New York Mets in the 1st round of the 1994 draft. He arrived in Oakland on July 23, 1999 via trade for Kenny Rogers. He made his debut with the A’s in 2000, setting a Oakland rookie record with 104 runs and tied the rookie record with 168 hits. He was second in the AL rookie of the year voting.

T Long was the A’s second ironman in 2001, starting alongside Tejada in all 162 games. He played in all 3 outfield positions during the season  until he settled into left field after Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye claimed center and right field.

Jeremy Giambi

Jeremy Giambi , younger brother to Jason, was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the sixth round of the 18 draft on June 4, 1996. He came to the A’s by way of a trade from the Royals for Brett Laxton just before the 2000 spring training

Surprisingly, in 2001 Jeremy Giambi had career highs in every offensive category except batting average He went .283 with 12 home runs and 57 RBI  in 124 games.  He started at four different positions for the A’s that year, Including RF,LF, DH and First.

One of the highlights of 2001 for Jeremy Giambi, came on June 21 against Seattle. The Giambi brothers homered in the same game for the fourth time in their careers.  After the All-Star break, he went on to hit safely in each of his first 10 games, that made it the longest hitting streak of his career. The streak vaulted his average as high as .304 by August 4.

Jeremy Giambi was a big contributor for the green and gold in 2001. Of his 57 RBI, 23 either tied the game or put the A’s ahead. His best career numbers to that point against one team was six home runs and 19 RBI against Texas.

Ramon Hernandez

Ramon Hernandez was signed by the A’s  as a non-drafted free agent on February 18, 1999. He made his Oakland debut in 1999, appearing in 40 game for the A’s.

In 2001 Hernandez became the first catcher in Oakland history to catch more than 125 game in back-to-back seasons. Having started in 135 game  the previous year. His 2001 highlights include setting an Oakland record for catchers, taking part in 15 double play, but also tired for the league lead with 11 errors. He cut down 13 of 131 attempted base stealers. At one point opponents were successful in 17 consecutive stolen base attempts from April 20 to May 2, 2001.

Hernandez hit a career-high 15 home runs and added 60 RBIs to rank third among AL catchers in both categories .He ended the year with .254 BA, 115 huts, scored 55 runs and had 37 walks.

Tim Hudson

Hudson was the starter on opening day. You can read his 2001 performance in this related posted

What do you remember about opening day 2001? What was your highlight of 2001? Who was your favorite player that year?How many players do you recognize from the roster?

Share your story in the comments section of this post.

Picture of Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder

Source:Oakland Athletics 2002 Information Guide

The 2001 season for the Oakland Athletics, was all about the “Big 3’- Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder.

During the year, the A’s compiled a record of 102-60 and finished 14 games behind the Seattle Mariners to take second place in the AL West.

Art Howe captained the ship with Ken Macha riding shotgun. Rick Peterson manned the mound and Ron Washington held point at Third.

The Big Three

BARRY ZITO

Zito made his debut with the A’s in 2000. He had a woeful beginning to the 2001 season. Starting in 22 games up to mid July, he went 6-7 with a whopping 5.01 ERA.

By the middle of the summer, things started to click for Zito and he fired off an 11-2 record with a 1.32 ERA in his final 13 starts. He also struck out 200 batters to become the fourth A’s pitcher to do so in a single season.

2001 was nothing short of spectacular and had fans jumping out of their seats with his every start.

But on July 24, 2001 against the Minnesota Twins, Zito couldn’t make it past the second inning and had to watch his teammates from the dugout. He bounced back on August 9, 2001 with a stellar performance against the Boston Red Sox. Throwing a complete game 4-hit shutout, while not allowing a runner past first base.

Zito was awarded for his performances in August and September with Pitcher of the Month honors. Leading the AL in ERA and opponents batting average and tied in wins during August, while leading the AL in ERA in September and tied in the number of wins.

He saved his best performance  in 2001 for the Texas Rangers. Going 5-0 in seven career starts and a 3.52 ERA.

TIM HUDSON

Hudson, acquired by the A’s in the 6th round of the June 1997 draft, made his debut with the team on June 7, 1999. In 21 starts during his rookie year, he went 11-2 with a 3.23 ERA and led the team with 132 strikeouts. He won 20 games in 2000 and 18 in 2001, becoming the 12th pitcher in Oakland history with at least three consecutive 10-win seasons.

Hudson was the opening day starter in 2001 and became a workhouse for the A’s during the season. He led the team in innings pitched for a second straight year and had a career-high 3 complete games.

Among his 2002 highlights, Hudson struck out 11 Anaheim Angels in the game on April 7 and against Texas on June 22..

His low points came when he allowed a career high 12 hits in 3 losses to the New York Yankees on April 21, the Detroit Tigers on August 24 and to Anaheim on July 21.

By the end of 2001, Hudson posted a 8-1 record against the Angels in 10 career starts and was undefeated against Toronto,  Baltimore, Minnesota and Tampa Bay. However, by then he had yet to record a win against Cleveland or New York during the regular season.

MARK MULDER

At 6’6”, looking ever fit and handsome, Mulder had the air of a Superstar from the moment he was taken by the A’s, as the second selection overall, behind Pat Burrell in the 1998 draft.

Mulder made his debut with the A’s in 2000, making 27 starts before his season was cut short in mid-September by a herniated disc. Sadly, this injury was eventually demise from baseball.

In 2001 he had the best year of his career, with 21 wins and finished second to Roger Clemens in the AL Cy Young race.

Mulder in 2001 had an impressive 11-game streak of not issuing a walk. He struck out 153 batters and ranked first in the AL in double plays induced with 26. In 18 of his 24 starts that year, he went at least 7 innings, while allowing 3 runs or less 24 times.

Whereas Zito was a slow starter in 2001, Mulder sprinted out of the gates , going  5-0 in May and a 2.47 ERA. But Anaheim was his nemesis. In June, his winning streak went downhill like tumbleweed. He could only manage a 1-4 record with a ballooning 5.75 ERA.

His stellar performance of the year was an almost perfect game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, (who won the World Series that year) on July 6, 2001.  RF Danny Bautista hit a single to lead off the eight and broke up the perfect game. The only base runner he allowed in the game. Mulder did not get to ball three on any batter and struck out nine for a career high.

Six times during 2001, Mulder retired all nine hitters the first time through the order. For the second time in 2001 he took a no-hitter into the seventh against the Chicago Cubs, when Maglio Ordonez hit a two-run home run.

In July, Mulder was name AL Pitcher of the month, with his league-leading ERA and tying for second in wins.

Mulder in that year, defeated all 12 AL teams he faced at least once and defeated all four NL West teams he faced, ending with a 4-1 record with a 1.63 ERA and two shutouts in interleague play in 2001.

Hudson, Zito and Mulder accounted for 54 percent of Oakland’s wins during 2001.

Pitcher Wins Losses ERA
Hudson 18 9 3.37
Zito 17 8 3.49
Mulder 21 8 3.45
TOTALS 56 25 3.43

What a year 2001 was for the Mighty Big 3 and the A’s.

With the 2011 Opening Day only 66 days away, Oakland A’s fans can look forward to the next Big 3…

Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Brett Anderson.

Philadelphia Phillies Ain’t got nuthin on the A’s!

Source: Oakland A’s Media Guide 2001, MLB.com, Baseball Reference.com

Like This!

Oakland A’s pitcher, Ben Sheets has been the target of harsh criticism in more than a few of my earlier posts. No other player on the Oakland 2010 roster has infuriated me so much.

Then on a cool and rainy Sunday night in Chicago, I came face-to-face with Oakland A’s Pitcher, Ben Sheets!

I was at the end of a very long and tiring day. What started out as a fun day at AT&T Park in San Francisco ended with the sting of a 3-game sweep at hands of the cross town rivals. It was now long past midnight and there I was waiting impatiently in baggage claim in Chicago’s O’Hare’. The airport had the emptiness of the Oakland Coliseum…  during a mid-week series with the Kansas City Royals. Read the rest of this entry »

Kendry Morales, First Baseman for the Angels, suffered a broken leg today while celebrating at home plate.

He had just hit the first Grand Slam Home Run of his career and it should have been a happy day for him and the team. After, what happened, I don’t think anyone associated with the Angels is celebrating today’s win.

I knew sooner or later, someone was going to get hurt. Every time I watch a team with a walk-off win, I would say it out loud.

“Someone is going to get seriously hurt”. Today it finally happened! Read the rest of this entry »

Eyebrows were raised almost to the foreheads, when Billy Beane announced the signing of former Brewers ace Ben Sheets to a 1-year $10 million contract. I was skeptical of the signing and wondered if he would be ready when the bell sounded for opening day.

Ben Sheets was ready for opening day to my surprise. Plus, he made it out of spring training uninjured. Maybe his ego was bruised, when he failed to retire a batter in one start and gave up 10 runs.

At the time everyone said, “It’s spring training, it doesn’t count. Ben is working on his mechanics.” But I took note. Read the rest of this entry »

If things continue the way they are now in Phoenix, I can’t imagine the projected starting rotation will survive spring training. The A’s players haven’t had time to get used to the Arizona weather and we are hearing about injuries. Are we in for another frustrating season of frequent trips to the DL? And players with injuries they can’t seem to recover from?

I am passionate about baseball and I love the Oakland A’s, but it’s hard to get excited about the 2010 team. Too many injuries and uncertainties that lead me to believe the starting rotation won’t be what the A’s are expecting this year. Read the rest of this entry »

You probably thought the A’s couldn’t afford to spend money in the off-season. Yet Ben Sheets and the Oakland A’s agreed on a 1-year $10 million deal in January. I am sure this was a surprise to you as it was to me. It seemed to come out of nowhere. Heck, Billy Beane needed a marquee baseball player to add to the roster and Ben Sheets needed a place to pitch. Sounds like the perfect match. But, is it a marriage made in hell?

Only time will tell if Ben Sheets will stay healthy. Unless you have a magic ball, you can’t tell how the season is going to play out. Every Spring Training all 30 baseball teams (except maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals) have visions of playing post-season baseball, winning it all and having their parade. Yes, of course. Twenty-nine teams will be watching the World Series parade in November, from their vacation spots.

I would like to see Ben Sheets do well in Oakland. Not only for his sake, but also for the Oakland A’s and their fans. After three losing seasons, uninspiring roster moves, empty stands, fans need a reason why they should show up and be excited at the Coliseum this year.

The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Ben Sheets back in 1999 and he spent his entire major league career with them. The last time anyone saw him pitch was September 27, 2008. The A’s must have seen something in his workout (that no one else saw) to sign him to such a contract. Look, whether you like it or not, Ben Sheets is going to bring interest to the Athletics much like Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi did last year.

I don’t understand why baseball analysts aren’t willing to give this “marriage” a chance. Many have started to speculate as to what uniform Ben Sheets will be wearing after the July trading deadline.The Oakland A’s have a history of rehabilitating injured, washed-up players. You can’t forget Frank Thomas in 2006. He helped the A’s make it to the ALCS. I mean four games away from a World Series title. In 2009, Adam Kennedy, on the scrap heap with the Tampa Bay Rays, found his groove in Oakland. OK, so it didn’t work out with Jason Giambi, but I am sure you knew he had nothing left in the tank.

What’s your take? How many games do you think Ben Sheets will win in 2010? Do you think the A’s have a shot to be in the hunt by July?

A’s fans, Billy Beane and Bob Geren are putting their trust in Ben Sheets to lead the young staff. Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzales, Dallas Braden and Vin Mazzaro. I am hoping the experiment works. So whether you like it or not, he will be taking the mound opening day for the Oakland A’s. By Mid-May you will know whether Ben Sheets and the Oakland A’s is a marriage made in hell.

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