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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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!
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 , 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 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.
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?
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