Athletics

A's 50th anniversary team vote: What fans got right and wrong

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AP

A's 50th anniversary team vote: What fans got right and wrong

Here’s some quick takes on the A’s 50th Anniversary (In Oakland) Team that was unveiled Monday morning:

**Fans voted for this team, and overall I’d say they did a nice job getting all noteworthy eras of Oakland A’s baseball represented. But there’s no getting around the fact that fan votes are a popularity contest. For this list, it really helped a player’s case if they enjoyed one singular moment that etched itself in people’s memory or had a larger-than-life personality that struck a chord with fans. Scott Hatteberg was one of the 50 because of one swing he took in green and gold that was immortalized in the movie “Moneyball.”

Then there’s right-hander Dan Haren. There was a case to include him on the team based on Haren being one of just four Oakland pitchers ever to start an All-Star Game. But the fact is when you think of all-time great Athletics, Haren doesn’t jump to the forefront of your thoughts. However, he was part of a humorous Twitter exchange Monday morning when he saw he didn’t make the cut:

**For many franchises celebrating such an event, winning a Rookie of the Year award would probably be enough to make the team. But Oakland has had seven of them, and four didn’t land a spot on the team — relievers Andrew Bailey and Huston Street, shortstop Bobby Crosby and outfielder Ben Grieve. I won’t argue any of them were robbed, but again, no outrageous personalities here. And in Crosby’s case, he’s remembered more for what he didn’t do in the years after winning Rookie of the Year.

**Hats off to fans for voting super utility man Tony Phillips on the squad. He never made an All-Star team, never posted a great “stats” season. But players from those late 80’s pennant-winning teams will tell you what a key part of those clubs Phillips was.

**Although Phillips’ longevity with the A’s helped him, having a long career in green and gold wasn’t crucial to fans. Frank Thomas only spent 2006 and part of 2008 with Oakland. But that ’06 season alone sold voters. He hit 39 homers and finished fourth in MVP voting for a club that made it to the ALCS. And he’s the “Big Hurt”. No way he wasn’t making this list.

**I tried coming up with two players — one from long ago and one more contemporary — who I thought might have been snubbed. In the “way back” category, I’ll go outfielder Tony Armas. If younger fans don’t know the name, understandable. But Armas was an All-Star and finished fourth in MVP voting in the strike-shortened 1981 season for an A’s team that posted the American League’s best record. Plus, he made up one-third of a terrific early 80’s outfield that included Rickey Henderson and Dwayne Murphy. (And speaking of Murphy, justice was done including him on the 50th anniversary team).

For a more “current” snub, I’ll throw Brandon Moss out there. OK, maybe it’s a stretch, and maybe my own bias kicks in having covered Moss, who was one of the best interviews a reporter could ask for. But the guy was an All-Star in 2014 and hit 30 homers in 2013. And if we’re talking impact, his midseason arrival in 2012, and the power he provided, was a huge boost in the A’s magical run to the AL West title.

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's perfect game vs Manaea's no-hitter

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AP

POLL: A's Memorable Moments -- Braden's perfect game vs Manaea's no-hitter

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports California is looking back at the A's 50 Memorable Moments since the franchise relocated to Oakland in 1968. Below are the next two moments you can vote on. Tune into A's Pregame Live today at 6:30 p.m. to watch highlights of the two moments. After the A's and Giants conclude, tune into A's Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round!

1. Dallas Braden's Perfect Game on Mother's Day 2010 (19-time winner)

(From Dallas Braden)

Well, they haven’t taken it away yet so I guess it might not be a dream after all. It’s still insane to think that on such a special day for so many people, my teammates and I were able to etch ourselves into the hearts of A’s fans everywhere.

In the moment, I had no clue. At the same time, I was fully aware. Completely focused and emotionally distracted at the same time. Hell, I talked myself into the wrong count in the last at-bat of the game. The 27th out. In that moment I had no clue. No clue I’d become the vehicle for such an emotional moment shared between mothers and their families across baseball that special day. I do believe that’s what I was -- merely a vehicle to connect people through our beautiful game. My mom, along with the baseball gods, and Landon Powell, I guess, all steered us down the path of history and to be able to share and relive those special moments and memories is a blessing a young little leaguer can only dream of.

I hope that through my passion for the game you feel the same love I, myself, my wife, baby girl, and grandmother have felt from each of you, the fans of the Green & Gold. We couldn’t be happier to share this Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day from here on out, TOGETHER! It’s a perfect fit if you ask me.

VS.

2. Sean Manaea's no-hitter vs Red Sox on April 21, 2018

(From Sean Manaea)

VOTE HERE: 

Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani cleared to begin throwing

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USATSI

Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani cleared to begin throwing

ANAHEIM — The Los Angeles Angels say two-way star Shohei Ohtani’s elbow ligament is continuing to heal and he has been medically cleared to begin a throwing progression.

The team said Ohtani was given a six-week evaluation Thursday by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The Angels said they would release specifics about his progress and rehabilitation schedule at another time.

Ohtani was placed on the disabled list with an ulnar collateral ligament sprain on June 8 after complaining about tightness in his right elbow following a June 6 start against Kansas City. The Japanese sensation has since returned to the roster as a designated hitter, but his prospects to pitch remain unclear.

He is hitting .283 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs. On the mound, Ohtani won four of his first five decisions before getting injured.