A View from Section 139

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Oakland Athletics: 2001 Season Part 2 – Opening Day Lineup

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.


Ben Sheets and the Oakland A’s – Marriage made in Hell.

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.

Yes, Folks. It’s Red Sox-Yankees…Again

Yes, it’s that time again. Another Red Sox, Yankees match up. All that matters to the baseball world is what the Yankees and Red Sox are doing this weekend.

Kings of the Baseball World. The teams with the most to spend on “gobbling” up talent.

Should the Yanks enforce the “Joba” Rules? Should they have kept him on his normal day rest? Will he throw inside to Kevin Youkilis? Will the benches clear sometime during the weekend? (more…)

Can’t Say I miss Matt Holliday in Oakland

More than a week has passed since Matt Holliday went to the Cardinals. I wasn’t disappointed to see him go. He is not a particularly good outfielder. Watching him from the left field bleachers at the Coliseum, he always seemed he wasn’t hustling enough. He drove me crazy. In his brief stint with the A’s he did nothing for the first three months. How many times he came to the plate with men on base and failed to get the runner in.

The only thing I am still upset about is the players he was traded for. Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street and Greg Smith. Granted Greg Smith isn’t even on the major league roster, but he had a great pick-off move. Street has 29 saves and counting and seems to have found a home. While Carlos is the fourth outfielder, he has a fantastic arm and needs time to develop. I still hate that trade.

Matt Holliday goes to the Cardinals and he is suddenly red-hot. In 93 games with the A’s he got his average up to .286. Of course only in the last 4 weeks. In 11 games with the Cards he is at .488. For sure he’s not going to maintain that pace. As for making the Cards making the playoffs, I’m not sure. I don’t want to bet on it, but I think the Cubs might edge them out. The NL Wild Card team will probably come for the NL West with the Giants and Rockies looking to surpass the Dodgers.

I wish Matt Holliday good luck with his new team. But I wished he had a better showing in Oakland. I can’t speak for the fans, but I can’t say I miss Matt Holliday in Oakland.

How about you?

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You can’t to talk to Billy Beane or Lew Wolff….but you can send them a letter!

Lately, the press has been less than kind to the Oakland Athletics. Most recently,Ray Ratto on SF Gate and Monte Poole in the Mercury News. Demoralizing to say the least if, you are a fan. I cannot imagine what the players are feeling in that locker room.

No sympathy from me, it’s partly their fault.

Somehow, they manage to keep leaving the hitting behind on the team bus or in their cars. Because it’s nowhere to be found at the plate.

The rest of the blame lies with the Manger, GM and Owner.

I decided to take matters in my own hand today and call the Executive Offices of the Oakland A’s. I was determined to talk to Lew Wolff or Billy Beane so I could tell them what’s on MY mind.

Once the phone rings, you have to pay attention to the prompts and decide which option to choose. Unless you know your party’s extension, which I did not, tough luck.

I by-passed all opions and decided to stay on the line. Hoping someone would talk to me.

I did not have to wait long before I got a live person.

I told her immediately, I wished like to speak to someone about my frustrations with the team and the extremely bad press lately. She said, the staff is feeling the same way.

I told her I wanted to talk to Billy Beane or Lew Wolff since I haven’t heard any comments from them in months. She told me Billy Beane appeared on COMCASTSPORTS yesterday at 5pm. Too bad, I missed it.

Then she told me I could write a letter to the press!


“I don’t want to write to the Press, I want to talk to Billy Beane or Lew Wolff”!

Next she suggested I should write them a letter. I realized then, this was to be my first and last stop in
The A’s Executive Offices. I was on the phone to nowhere.

You bet. I am going to write two letters. One to Billy Beane and the other to Lew Wolff.

I asked if my letters will get to their destination or passed off to their Assistants. She assured me they get all letters addressed to them. She politely gave me the address to send my letters.

I wished her a great afternoon and thanked her for her time.

Billy Beane, Lew Wolff my letters are on the way!

Another day, another trade-Will the move hurt or help the Oakland A’s

I hardly had time to come to terms with Scott Hairston coming to Oakland this past Tuesday. He arrived in exchange for Triple A power pitcher Ryan Webb. By the way Webb pitched two innings  against the Giants in Jonathan Sanchez no-hitter.

I am still in shock that Travis Buck was back in Sacramento. He was called up less than a week before. Although he has struggled since his 2006 debut, he is a fan favorite.  I don’ think he has been given a chance to prove himself. OK so he had a chance last year  but he was injured. Injuries are a part of baseball.

On Saturday third baseman Jack Hannahan was sent to the Mariners.

 I’m not sure what the A’s are trying to do. It’s hard to keep up.  Some folks like to say,  “It’s Billy Being Billy. A’s fans are used to it”.

Are we really? How long  do we have to accept dismantling of the team as business as usual? What about getting rid of Bob Geren? 

The Rockies weren’t afraid to let Clint Hurdle go early in the season. Look at their performance since.

Can you blame fans for not showing up at the Coliseum? Let’s face it; the team needs a new ballpark. The A’s and the Florida Marlins are the only teams now playing in a dual-purpose park. At least the Marlins are on the move.

I have a feeling, the next time the A’s are at home, we will be missing a few more of our faves.

Sick and tired of Yankees-Red Sox

There are many americans who enjoy the game and root for only one team. The other 29 teams do not matter to them. In most cases they could not name a player on another team. I really enjoy watching baseball and I love to watch all the teams play. With each game there is a chance you will see something new. That is what makes the game great.   One never knows when the players you heckle on the other team becomes the guy you root for when  comes over to your team.

 It is the start of the weekend and so many games to watch. However, my goodness, is it necessary for everyone outside of
Boston and
New York to be forced to see the 3-game series on national television for the entire weekend?

  • ESPN’s Friday Night Baseball with the Baseball Tonight studio crew calling the game. (The worst play-by-play I have heard in a long time, I mean, it wasn’t really play-by-play. Just three men enjoying the game and pretending that they were working. Thanks Dusty for trying to provide us with some analysis).
  • On Saturday, FOX Sports Game of the Week. By the way, your local teams will be “blacked-out” on television as well as on MLB.TV. That’s right, at least last year; we had a few weeks to enjoy the games on Saturdays before FOX’s national monopoly coverage took effect. Not so this year, I mean, why wait, let’s flex our muscles “right off the bat”! I have always enjoyed going to the Saturday afternoon 1:05 pm games. By 4 pm, we are leaving the ballpark and getting on with your life. However, in 2007, someone somewhere decided that since they had the power, they would force some teams to start their games at 6:30 pm instead.
  • To cap off our wonderful weekend of Sports, ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. More Yankees- Red Sox.

OK so Friday’s game was interesting. The Yankees were up 6-2 heading to the bottom of the 8th inning. A-Rod already the hero, (2hr, 2B). The Yankees were already planning how to celebrate their game1 win. But wait, here comes “Sand Man” in the bottom of the 8th to get 5 outs. No problem, big lead, Mr. Automatic, put up that “W.”Then… shades of last Sunday in
Oakland! Yankees leading the Athletics 4-2, two out, two on, we look at the scoreboard – Magic Marco, “Mr. Clutch”- walking towards the plate. “Did I see that right, Avg. . . 050. That is not even an average, better if it was .000. On top of that, he is 1-20 coming to the plate…I thought for sure, no hope, Yankees once again trounce the A’s.It gets even better, Marco – 0-2, hits a screaming line drive…foul! OK, so Marco has one more shot to at least get a hit. I thought next pitch for sure, he’s gone, and all the fans go home with another disappointing loss. For sure, there is no way that Marco can avoid Mariano’s signature pitch –  ” The Cutter”. With all the confidence in the world, Mariano steps up to the rubber and unleashes his pitch….. And then it happened before we knew what was going on. In the blink of an eye, game over….. Off the left field foul pole, 3-run shot, everyone in the Coliseum on their feet, screaming like maniacs in disbelief. The A’s defeat the Yankees 5-4 and Mariano walks off the mound shaking his head in disbelief. “What just happened here?” Sandman that will be recorded in the box scores as a “blown save.” You don’t see too many of those beside his name.So back to Friday’s game and Mariano has a chance to redeem himself. What better place to do it than at Fenway. Crowd on their feet, clapping and cheering, it doesn’t get any better than this….But, it was not to be, at least not this time…….5 runs in the bottom of the 8 and the Red Sox come from behind to win the game. Oops, another blown save in back-to-back starts. If he was shocked in
Oakland, then he was really stunned at Fenway. I am sure he had whiplash spinning around to watch the balls race to the outfield to score some more runs.Now all the excuses will come, “He hasn’t pitched in a number of days”,  “his arm was not fresh.” “He was asked to get 5 outs”, “he was scared by the Ugly Green Uniforms of the Red Sox”. What was that anyway? OK, so it was in honor of Red Auerbach,

Park, whatever. The team just looked like a bunch of Leprechauns. But you know what, they got the win and that is all that matters.To add insult to injury, every time I turn the TV on to watch the sports highlights, I see A-Rod’s homer going over the fence and CoCo Crisp falling into the bullpen from all different camera angles. Enough already. Just to think there are 18 more such encounters before we get to October.At this point nobody cared that the
Oakland A’s had just scored 16 runs off
Texas in the first meeting with an old friend, Ron Washington. But I do have to admit, that I can’t help but watch the Yankees- Red Sox games. You never know what you might miss. To think I rooted for the Yankees when I lived in
New York. Once I moved West, I was “healed” from the curse of the Yankees at McAfee Coliseum, by the laying on of hands. Just when I thought I have enough Yankees-Red Sox for the month of April, the two teams will meet again next weekend, this time in the
Bronx. I am sure that Mariano will be looking to redeem himself in front of his home crowd. I am sure he will be OK; it is a long, long way to go before October. Who knows, he may not have to wait until next weekend! There are still 2 more chances to record his first Save of 2007, before we all go back to work on Monday. See ya later!