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Oakland Athletics-The 2001 Season Part 1:The Mighty Big 3

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

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5 Reasons Why The Oakland A’s Are The Best In The AL Since The All-Star Break

Reason Number 1. RAJAI DAVIS -Discarded by the cross-town rivals San Francisco Giants in 2008, we all wondered why on the earth the A’s would sign him. Raj had limited playing time and struggled at the plate. Fans kept waiting for him to show his speed and steal bases. Eyes popped and tongues when wagging when he was brought back to a crowded outfield in 2009. Fans called for his release when his production was dismal. Fast- forward to September 2009.
– Raj is the only A’s player batting above .300. I mean when was the last time a player on the A’s was batting .317.
– He has 39 stolen bases to date with a .375 OBP and .429 SLG.
Raj creates runs, disrupts the opposing team and causes them to panic.

Reason Number 2. ANDREW BAILEY – Last year this time Bailey was struggling as a starter in AA Midland going 0-8. Maybe someone saw something in him that showed he could be a relief pitcher. He was converted to the bullpen and invited to Spring Training. No one expected him to make the roster. Yet at the July All-Star game in St. Louis, Bailey was the only rookie and the lone Oakland A’s representative. To date he has 25 saves – surpassing the record set by Huston Street in 2006. Bailey has 20 consecutive saves and is on a list with the likes of Mariano Rivera, Huston Street.
Andrew Bailey has distinguished himself as the 2009 AL Rookie of the year.

Reason Number 3. KURT SUZUKI – When the A’s promoted Suzuki to the big leagues, the writing was on the wall for Jason Kendall. A good veteran catcher and a solid member of the team. However, as the A’s have proven, youth is the building block of the organization. At the all-star break, a nervous Kurt Suzuki took over the reins of calling the game. His contributions have been valuable to the team since. He is leading the league in innings, improved his defense and works hard on his offense. In addition, he gives back to the community. What an amazing guy.

VOTE FOR KURT SUZUKI FOR THE 2009 ROBERTO CLEMENTE AWARD

Reason Number 4 – BRETT ANDERSON- Hands down, he is he ‘ace’ of the A’s. He was highly touted as part of the “Little Three, the M-A-C Attack”. He has come of age. I know it is early to anoint him the next Cy Young Award Winner, but his performance has been spectacular.
A career-high 10 strikeouts against the Cleveland Indians at the Oakland Coliseum Friday night. With extra days rest, he seemed to have gotten stronger as the season went on. His poise on the mound and confidence in his pitches has propelled him to a .500 record this far.
His 1-hit performance against the Boston Red Sox earlier this year went largely unnoticed nationally. For A’s fans, it was a sign of things to come. Whenever he is on the mound, the team has the confidence that they will win the game.
In 28 games, so far he has pitched 164.2 innings with 139 strikeouts. What a performance.

Reason Number 5. THE BULLPEN. Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler, Santiago Casilla, Jeff Gray, Edgar Gonzalez.
Need I say more!