30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

All Autograph Team: Vol. 5 (The Oakland Athletics)

The Athletics played their first game in Oakland back on April 17th, 1968, which means they're celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year.

I've been an avid A's fan for over forty of those years.  To celebrate, I'm going to continue my series of All Autograph Teams and showcase some of the biggest names to play in the East Bay.

But before I do... it's important to lay down this post's ground rules:

#1:  All autographs will be on-card.
#2:  All autographs will be pack-pulled, PSA/DNA, or GAI certified.

As with other autographs featured in this series, I promise to not use any specific autographed card on more than one team.

Today's team will featured the starting nine, a designated hitter, a pinch hitter, a pinch runner, a utility player, four additional starting pitchers, two relievers, and a manager.

I'm going to keep my commentary to a minimum in order to save both of us time, since the last three volumes were extremely longwinded.  Okay, let's get this started...

Catcher:  Terry Steinback

1996 Leaf Signature Gold Auto #NNO

My biggest dilemma while writing this post was figuring out if I wanted to go with my favorite players or the best players.  In the end... I decided to go with the latter, since I've featured my favorites in the first volume.

First Baseman:  Mark McGwire

2016 Topps Legacies of Baseball Tenacity Auto #TA-MM

I'm sure there are people who will argue that Jason Giambi should be in this spot and statistically... it's debatable.  Ultimately, I felt that Big Mac had an overall bigger impact on Oakland A's baseball when you factor in popularity and three trips to the World Series.

Second Baseman:  Dick Green

2004 UD Legends Timeless Teams Autograph #89

If this team has a weak link, it's gonna be at second base.  Eric Sogard was originally slated to be here, but when I made the executive decision to show off my All Autograph Hockey Team early, it allowed me to run out and grab this Dick Green signature.

Green might not be a hall of famer, but he was the starting A's second baseman for eight seasons and won two World Series rings with them in 1973 and 1974.

Shortstop:  Miguel Tejada

1999 SP Signature #MT

Don't worry.  Campy makes an appearance somewhere on this roster.

Third Baseman:  Sal Bando

2001 UD Decade 1970's Game-Jersey Autographs #SJ-SB

Hank Bauer named Sal Bando the A's captain back in 1969.  He helped lead the Oakland Athletics to three World Series titles and a dynasty that's still relished by fans.

Left Fielder:  Rickey Henderson

2014 Gypsy Queen Autograph #GQA-RH

Easiest roster spot to fill.

Center Fielder:  Reggie Jackson

2013 Topps Museum Collection Gold Framed Autographs #MCA-RJ

Did you know that Reggie was the Oakland A's starting center fielder back in 1972?  Me either.  But he was.

Right Fielder:  Jose Canseco

2016 Topps Legacies of Baseball Tenacity Auto #TA-JC

Okay... I realize that Reggie should be in this spot.  Unfortunately, Canseco only played in center field once in his entire career.

Designated Hitter:  Jason Giambi

1998 Donruss Signature Series Millennial Marks #NNO

Hopefully this makes up for starting McGwire at first base.

Pinch Hitter:  Scott Hatteberg

2015 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs Gold #FFA-SH

If you're an A's fan, you know why he's my pinch hitter.

Pinch Runner:  Billy North

2004 UD Legends Timeless Teams Autograph #85

Maybe one day Topps will add Herb Washington to their Archives Fan Favorites autograph checklist.  Until then... Billy North will pinch run for me.

Utility Player:  Bert Campaneris

2004 UD Legends Timeless Teams Autograph (#'d 1 of 1) #80

I can't think of a better utility player than the first guy in MLB history to play all nine positions in a single game.

Starting Pitcher #1:  Catfish Hunter

1985-97 Perez-Steele Great Moments #62 (PSA/DNA Certified)

Starting Pitcher #2:  Dave Stewart

2013 Topps Tier One Crowd Pleaser Autographs #CPA-DST2

Starting Pitcher #3:  Vida Blue

2013 Topps Tier One Crowd Pleaser Autographs #CPA-VB1

Starting Pitcher #4:  Tim Hudson

2004 Skybox Autographics #A-TH

Starting Pitcher #5:  Ken Holtzman

2001 Topps Golden Anniversary Autograph #GAA-KH

Other than Catfish, the starting rotation is filled with Hall of Very Good candidates.  But all five starters have World Series experience and will be supported by two pitchers enshrined at Cooperstown.

Relief Pitcher #1:  Dennis Eckersley

2007 UD Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #SPS-EC

Relief Pitcher #2:  Rollie Fingers

2007 UD Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #SPS-RF

I'd say this A's lineup has two strengths.  Power hitting is one of them.  The bullpen is the other.

Manager:  Billy Martin

1983 Topps #156 (GAI Certified)

And rounding out my 50th Anniversary Oakland Athletics All Autograph Team is my favorite manager of all-time.

I still have at least one more All Autograph Team to write about.  In the meantime... here is today's contest question of the day:

Who is your favorite Oakland Athletic?

I've written about mine a few times... but I'll write it again:  Rickey Henderson.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. I'm partial to the Swingin' A's and there are some great ones here. I think Fingers would be my favorite. Nice to see some love for Kenny Holtzman.

  2. I’ve always wondered why Rickey didn’t play center since he was so fast. Could you shed any light on that? Those are some great cards, especially the Billy Martin.
    My favorite A is a no-name. Rafael Bournigal. He played shortstop for them in ‘96 and ‘97. He lived in the same town as me when I was in high school. I ran into him at the YMCA, and he was nice enough to drive me home and sign some cards for me and take a picture in the 1997 offseason.

  3. Great to see so many 2004 legends timeless teams cards! I bought in to Billy ball and the a's replaced the angels as my American league team in 1981. So, Rickey quickly became my favorite current athletic although I held catfish hunter in higher regard (he was retired by then and I overlooked his Yankee years)

  4. Yeah, keep the commentaries to a minimum. Long-winded blog posts are my thing! Just kidding..I'm always up for reading longer posts. :)

    These are some sharp looking autos-the Catfish and Legacies autos in particular. Is the Hatteberg a gold parallel, or are those border standard?

    It's funny, but when I was a kid and the Bash Brothers were in their heyday I looked at them like I look at the Yankees now-too much swagger, too much firepower, and I was thrilled when the Dodgers (and Reds) took 'em down. But ever since Moneyball I've realized that I had it wrong. The Yankees are Goliath -- and the A's just got to wear his shoes for a while. :)

  5. As someone who spent his first two years of college coming off the bench almost exclusively, I'm very glad to see Hatteberg made this lineup. A favorite Oakland A? Easily Catfish Hunter, but growing up the legacy of the Bash Brothers makes them a second choice.

  6. I have to say Matt Stairs.. Not really for any other reason than he's Canadian.

  7. Favorite Athletic? I'd probably go with Eck, although I definitely didn't like him or those A's when they kept dominating the Red Sox...

  8. Joe Rudi. So much so that I included him in my All-Angels Autograph Blog Bat Around on his 69 A's rookie card. Dude could fly through the outfield and make the most remarkable leaping catches.

  9. I might have to go with Reggie (btw, I think you meant to say he was starting center fielder), though a couple big favorites of mine who had brief stints in Oakland are Dick Allen and Nate Colbert.

  10. For a very short time when I was young kid collector, I gravitated towards collecting McGwire cards, but that stopped after not too many years. As I have gotten older and read about baseball history, I would have to say a favorite Oakland Athletic would be Rickey Henderson.

  11. I've always had a soft spot for Vida Blue.

  12. I was wondering who you were going to use as your manager. If it wasn't Billy Martin I was going to protest. Nice cards!

    By the way, you should do a Moneyball team sometime.

  13. hackenbush - sadly... i didn't even really know about holtzman until i was an adult. i watched the a's play in the 70's, but for some reason don't remember thinking about him during the 80's.

    jeremya1um - that's a great question. if i were to guess, i'd say that the a's had a great defensive outfielder patrolling center in dwayne murphy

    gcrl - 2004 timeless teams is the only way to secure some on-card autographs of certain fan favorites. great set

    chris - the hatteberg is a gold parallel. looks pretty good, right? with the exception of a few short spurts, the a's have been the yankees farm team for decades

    john miller - lol... all of them are pc guys me (to an extent)

    jasongerman9 - catfish is a legend, but like holtzman i don't really remember his days with the athletics (although i'm sure i saw him pitch back in the day)

    mike matson - nice call. loved stairs

    matt - lol. i bet it just seems weird typing "when they kept dominating the Red Sox". that doesn't happen very often these days. although... sean just threw that no hitter. i'm not a red sox fan, but i really, really, really want them to catch up to the yankees. good luck this season

    the angels in order - nice call. i remember him more for the angels, but i love collecting his a's cards

    defgav - thank you for pointing that out. error has been corrected. both of those are great short term stops. wait just looked them up. both finished their careers in oakland.

    tshenson - i went through a McGwire phase myself... but rickey is hands down my fave too

    nick vossbrink - vida is definitely a bay area fan favorite

    sumomenkoman - i'd consider it, but i'd have to break my rule of not reusing autographs.

  14. Favorite A's pitcher: Dave Stewart
    Favorite A's hitter: very tough... I'm partial to power guys, so Jose Canseco would probably edge out Dave Kingman and Matt Stairs... never really taken with Big Mac during his Oakland tenure, and Giambi ending up in NY (though not specifically his fault) always left a bad taste in my mouth. If Khris Davis keeps it up, he'll easily land in my Top 5.

  15. Damn, nice to see the Bash Brothers together again :).

    My favorite A's player of all time might be super out there, but it's Jemile Weeks. Mainly because I remember watching him a lot in 2011 and thinking "man, this guy is really good and going to be something super special". Basically I thought he and Dustin Ackley were going to push Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia out of the Best 2Bs in the AL conversation. Unfortunately that never happened but I still remember how awesome he was in those 97 games as a rookie.

  16. My favorite A of all time might have to be Jason Giambi. I was at a Royals game in 2000 and I was getting autographs on the Royals side and I sent my girlfriend to 'graph the A's side. She had no idea what she was doing and would just hang out until someone started to sign and then she would get in on the action. Jason saw her standing there with her ball and asked her if she wanted him to sign it for her. Never before or since have I seen a player do that.

  17. No favourite A's player but I see 3 former Blue jays here

  18. Rickey because....Rickey. That GQ auto of his is fantastic.

  19. As a Mets fan, my favorite A's would include Ron Darling, Yoenis Cespedes, and, briefly, Mike Piazza. But for an A who never played for my team, I'd maybe go with Vida Blue or, if you want to consider him an A, Willie Wilson.

  20. Like most kids I loved the Bash Brothers growing up.

    I still love any Autographics auto that has been made. Still one of my favorite auto inserts of all time.

  21. Damn good 'graphs. I was hoping to see Giambi on there. His is an auto that's on my list of guys who have eluded me.

  22. Nice Giambi. One of my favorite autograph sets

  23. Bob Locker.

    I'm starting to like those timeless teams cards, those autographed versions you have are nice. Also these autograph posts seem to be flying out at the speed of light, I check back and we're already at number 5 :-)

  24. I guess for me it would be Josh Reddick, or maybe Rollie Fingers.

  25. Joe Rudi…modelled my batting stance to be just like his!

  26. I would go with Allan Lewis for pinch runner(no Topps cards,but he does have some nice custom cards).And of course 2 time World Series Champion Dick Williams for manager.

  27. I collect Vida and Campy, so those are top 5, but I might have to go outside the box and say Gene Tenace. He's a PC too and seems like one of those yeoman unsung hero guys that had an amazing year.

    Timeless Teams rules. I'm gonna look up those 2013 Topps Tier One Crowd Pleaser Autographs too.

  28. Great team!

    I think I would have to go with Rickey. The only thing that I didn't like about him was that he played at the same time as Tim Raines, who I don't think gets as much credit as a lead-off hitter as he should because of it.

  29. Amazing cards and thats a heck of a lineup. My favorite A was Josh Reddick. While not a superstar, he was easy to root for and funny as shit.

  30. ko rob - stew was the man. he was so important to the la russa world series teams. as for davis, i'm afraid to call him my favorite. don't want him getting shipped off to ny

    zippy zappy - lol. i specifically targeted a set where they both signed.

    zman40 - nice. does she still have the ball?

    al kawamoto - rickey, jose, and stew. dang. forgot to add donaldson to this team.

    greg zakwin - can't have an a's team w/o rickey

    brett alan - i'm a big fan of darling. that mets rotation back in the 80's was pretty impressive

    matthew scott - i'm a big fan of autographics too. simple design... and on card.

    the lost collector - not sure about yankees autographs, but giambi's autographs where he's featured as an athletic are pretty darn affordable.

    sport card collectors - me too. i was trying to pick up the big stars in that set, but i eventually got sidetracked

    steve at 1975baseballcards.com - lol. had to look locker up. still learning about those 70's athletics. as for the posts themselves... i think there's only one more left. i was hoping to do a signed memorabilia one, but i'm missing some positions.

    raz - nice call on reddick. loved that guy when he was here

    lisa - did you also pretend to robbing menke of a double in the world series too?

    sg488 - knew about herb washington... but lewis is new to me. very cool.

    gca - i really, really hope topps adds him to their fan favorites autograph checklist sometime soon.

    angus - yeah. rickey's shadow kept a lot of guys out of the spotlight

    collecting cutch -yeah... great guy. loved how he interacted with the fans.

  31. Eckersley is my favorite A's player. He was basically automatic in the late 80s and early 90s. Nice collection of autos...I have a feeling there'll be an all-autograph team for players that didn't meet the ground rules requirement.... :)