1901: When the American League was formed, a decision was made to place a team in Philadelphia to rival the National League’s Phillies. The Shibe family who produced sporting goods, some local sportswriters, and Connie Mack, who had played and managed in the major leagues, were chosen to found the Philadelphia franchise. [Mack would serve as the “baseball man” and would receive a minority share of the club]. In building the original Athletics, Mack tried to raid the Phillies roster. Still, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Phillies, saying the players were not allowed to play for another team. In a shrewd move, Mack traded the players in question to the Cleveland Blues and was able to receive talent while the Phillies were unable to recoup their players since Cleveland was out of the court’s jurisdiction. The Athletics would finish their inaugural season in fourth place with a 74-62 record.
1902: Connie Mack continues to stack his Athletics with players from other teams. An angry John McGraw who quit the American League’s Baltimore Orioles for a job with New York Giants calls the A’s “White Elephants,” and states Connie Mack should not be able to spend money without supervision. Mack would then adopt the White Elephant as the team’s logo, while Rube Waddell, one of the players Mack lured away from the NL wins 24 games. The A’s with Waddell’s help would capture the American League Pennant with an 83-53 record. After the season, the National League, fearful of more defections, decides to form an agreement with AL, with each league getting equal status and respecting each other’s contracts. The merger also creates a World Series to be completed at the end of the season.
1903: Connie Mack’s shrewd dealings had led to the establishment of the World Series. However, the Athletics were unable to make the first fall classic after finishing 14 and a half games out of first with a 75-60 record while placing second.
1904: The Athletics fall to fifth place but only finish 12 and a half games out of first in a competitive American League with a record of 81-70.
1905: With the 1-2 punch of Rube Waddell and Eddie Plank who won 26, and 25 games respectfully, the Athletics post a 92-56 record to capture the American League Pennant by two games. The Championship earns the Athletics a trip to their first-ever World Series, where they would face the New York Giants. John McGraw, the same man who referred to the A’s three years earlier as “White Elephants,” manages the Giants. John McGraw, whose grudge against the American League had prompted him to refuse to take part in any 1904 series, was determined to prove that the AL was inferior, while the A’s who had once been insulted by McGraw’s words were determined to make him eat crow. However, for the Athletics, it would not be as Christy Matthewson shut them out in Games 1, 3, and 5 to capture the series for the Giants four games to one. The win gave the first battle of the Mack-McGraw grudge match to Little Napoleon, but there would be more battles to come.
1906, in a season marred by injuries, the Athletics finished in fourth place with a 78-67 record. The injury situation got so bad for Connie Mack that he had to use pitcher Chief Bender in Left Field. However, Bender would take advantage by hitting two inside the park home runs in one game against the Boston Americans.
1907: The chase for the pennant was a close affair. The Chicago White Sox went out in front during the early part of the season with the Athletics and Detroit Tigers in close pursuit. The White Sox faded, and the A’s took over first place on August 12th. From that point on, the race was a contest between the A’s and the Tigers. At this crucial juncture, the A’s were having a difficult time with their pitching. After the Tigers took the first game, the second game went deep into extra innings. With the Athletics at-bat in the 14th inning, team captain Harry Davis hit a long drive into the overflow crowd in left-center field. From all appearances, it looked to be a ground-rule double, but, as Tigers center fielder Sam Crawford went back to the edge of the crowd, a policeman sitting on a soda box along the rope line suddenly arose. According to the Tigers, the officer interfered with Crawford, but the A’s asserted that he was simply trying to get out of the player’s way. The umpires ruled fan interference and called Davis out. It resulted in the game ending in a 9-9 tie. The Tigers left town with a half-game lead, and the disheartened A’s were never able to catch-up, eventually losing the pennant by a game and a half, with an 88-57 record.
1908: The Athletics suffer their first losing season in their eight-year history, finishing in sixth place with a disappointing record of 68-85.
1909: With the growing popularity of baseball in the early 20th century, the need for larger stadiums was apparent. Since the old wooden structures were unsafe for large crowds, a need to build stadiums differently was also apparent. So in 1909, Shibe Park, the first stadium constructed of steel and concrete, opened in Philadelphia. On April 12th, an overflow crowd of 31,160, witnessed Eddie Plank deliver the first pitch of the game to Boston Red Sox 2B Amby McConnell at 3 PM. The A’s get off to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back, on the way to an 8-1 victory as Plank scatters six hits, strikes out eight and walks four. The A’s would go to finish in second place with a 95-58 record.
1910: The pieces begin to fall in place for the Athletics as they formed one of the best infields in baseball history. The infield of Stuffy McInnis, Eddie Collins, Jack Barry, and Frank Baker would become known as the $100,000 infield and would become the vital cog in the A’s lineup. At the same time, a strong pitching staff lead by Jack Coombs, who won 31 games, made the A’s an unstoppable force winning 102 games, en-route to earning a birth to their second World Series. Going into the World Series against the Chicago Cubs, the Athletics found themselves short-handed, as Eddie Plank was unable to pitch due to a sore arm. Jack Coombs and Chief Bender stepped it up and alternated complete games. The A’s would take the first three games before the Cubs adverted the sweep with a run in the ninth and tenth innings. However, Connie Mack and his Athletics would not be denied as Jack Coombs earned his third complete-game win of the series to give the Philadelphia Athletics their first-ever World Championship.
1911: Frank Baker captures the American League Homer Run crown with 11 longballs, earning him the nickname of “Home Run Baker.” While Baker is driving the ball out of Shibe Park, the Athletics bat a league-high .296, and once again dominate the American League with 101 wins. In the World Series, the A’s would get a chance to avenge the loss of 1905 against John McGraw’s New York Giants. In Game 1, the Athletics got a flashback, as Christy Mathewson dominates again to give the Giants the opener. However, the A’s would bounce back to win Game 2 before facing Mathewson again. In the third game, Mathewson continued his dominance shutting the Athletics out into the ninth inning. However, Frank Baker delivers one of his famous Home Runs to tie the game and send it to extra innings where Harry Davis provides a two-RBI single to finally defeat Mathewson and give the A’s a 2-1 series lead. After a week hiatus, the Athletics beat Mathewson again to take a 3-1 series lead. In Game 5, with a chance to close out the Giants, the Athletics let a 3-1 lead slip away in the ninth as the Giants got back into the series with a 4-3 extra-inning win. However, the A’s would erupt to score 13 runs to take the series in six games to gain a measure of revenge against John McGraw.
1912: Despite “Home Run” Baker capturing the Home Run and RBI crowns, and a 90-62 record the Athletics fall to third place 15 games behind the Boston Red Sox.
1913: With Frank “Home Run” Baker once again leading the way in home runs and RBI, the Athletics post a 96-57 record to reclaim the American League Pennant. In the World Series, the A’s would be matched up once again with John McGraw and his New York Giants. After the Athletics took Game 1, Christy Mathewson and Eddie Plank hooked up in scoreless pitcher’s duel. However, with three runs in the tenth inning, the Giants were able to tie the series at one game apiece. However, even Mathewson could not derail the Athletics locomotive as Philadelphia went on to win the next three to capture the series in five games.
1914: The premier team of the early teens was the Philadelphia Athletics, and with a 99-53 record, they captured their fourth pennant in five years to face the Boston Braves in the World Series. Going into the series, the Athletics were heavily favored. All was not well with Athletics as the upstart Federal League threatened to steal most of their top players. At the same time, Connie Mack stood firm and refused to give his players raises. The A’s were distracted as the Braves captured Game 1 by a score of 7-1. The Braves would also capture Game 2 to head to Boston with a 2-0 series lead. The Athletics would never recover, as the Braves would win the next two games to complete the sweep leading many to believe (including Connie Mack himself) the team had quit on their manager or worse deliberately threw the World Series.
1915: Before the start of the season, Connie Mack completely dismantles his team that had dominated the American League and all of baseball for the last five years. Not only do the Athletics fail to contend, but they also finish in last place with a woeful 43-109 record.
1916: The Athletics put together one of the worst seasons in baseball history, finishing in last place with an awful 36-117 record. The 117 losses set an American League record, and the .235 winning percentage is the worst in the 20th century in all of baseball.
1917: The Athletics finish in last place for the third straight season but avoid 100 losses making a 19-game improvement to post a record of 55-98.
1918: The Athletics finish in last place for the fourth straight season posting a terrible record of 52-76.
1919: The Athletics, who dominated the first five year of the decade by winning four pennants, and three World Series, end the decade by finishing in last place for the fifth consecutive year with a miserable 36-104 record.
1920: The misery for the Athletics continues as the team finished in last place for the sixth year in a row while posting a horrid 48-106 record.
1921: The Athletics suffering continues, with another 100-loss season, which landed them in the cellar for the seventh straight season, with a 53-100 record.
1922: Although their 65-89 record was not much to write home about, the Athletics climb to seventh place, ending a string of seven straight last-place finishes.
1923: The Athletics post their ninth straight losing season finishing in sixth place with a record of 69-83.
1924: The Athletics continue a slow climb up the standings finishing in fifth place with a record of 71-81, which is their best mark in ten years.
1925: After ten years at the bottom of the American League, the Athletics finally manage to gain a measure of respect, finishing in second place with a solid 88-64 record.
1926: The Athletics battle for the American League Pennant all season falling six games short while finishing in third place with a record of 83-67.
1927: With the Athletics forming a core group of talent around Al Simmons, Jimmie Foxx, and Mickey Coherence, Connie Mack acquires Ty Cobb from the Detroit Tigers to help the young players learn how to win. The move helps as the A’s post a solid 91-63 record. However, the New York Yankees had one of baseball’s greatest teams ever, and capture the pennant by 19 games.
1928: With Ty Cobb collecting the final 114 hits of his career, the young Athletics finally come of age, with Lefty Grove winning 24 games, and Mickey Cochrane capturing the League Award the A’s challenge the New York Yankees all season for the pennant. The Athletics would go on to post a 98-55 record, briefly taking the first place in September. However, the Yankees were too much to overcome once again, and the A’s fell two and a half games short.
1929: With Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons, each hitting over 30 home runs and driving in more than110 RBI, the Athletics finally get over the hump to capture the American League Pennant. The Athletics road to the World Series would end up being surprisingly easy, as the New York Yankees beset by injuries and tragedy were never really a factor in the Pennant race. The A’s would post an incredible 104-46 record to capture the first pennant in 15 years by a comfortable 18 games. In the World Series, the Athletics would face the Chicago Cubs. The A’s would take the first game thanks to a home run by Jimmie Foxx and a complete game 13-strikeout performance from Howard Ehmke. The A’s would also take Game 2 as Foxx went deep again to gain a stranglehold over the Cubs with series heading back to Shibe Park. After the Cubs bounced back to take Game 3, things looked even bleaker for the Athletics as the Cubs captured an 8-0 lead in Game 4. However, the A’s would not be denied, and in the 7th inning, the team would put up ten runs led by Mule Haas’ 3-run Homer to win the game 10-8, and take a 3-1 series lead. The Cubs would bounce back the next day to take a 2-0 lead to the 9th inning. Haas came up big again, tying the game with a two-run homer. Haas was followed up doubles from Al Simmons, and Bing Miller to win the World Series four games to one.
1930: With Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx dominating the league with their bats, and Lefty Grove dominating from the mound the Philadelphia A’s post a 102-52 record to capture their second straight American League Pennant. In the World Series, the A’s were matched up against a hard-nosed St. Louis Cardinals team. The A’s would get off to a fast start, as five extra-base hits in five different innings would score five runs to give the A’s the first game 5-2. The A’s would also win Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead to St. Louis. However, the Cards would bounce back to take the next two games setting up a critical fifth game that would swing the entire series. Game 5 would go scoreless into the 9th before Jimmie Foxx delivered a two-run homer to give the A’s a 3-2 series lead. With the series returning to Philadelphia for Game 6, the Philadelphia Athletics won easily 7-1, to capture their second World Series in a row, and fifth overall.
1931: With Al Simmons, batting .390, and Lefty Grove capturing the MVP with 31 wins and an incredible 2.06 ERA, the Athletics are even stronger winning more than 100 games for the third year in a row while establishing a new franchise-best record of 107-45. In the World Series, the A’s were matched up against the St. Louis Cardinals again. The Athletics would get off to a fast start once again as Lefty Grove led the A’s to a 6-2 win in Game 1. The Cardinals would bounce back in Game 2 behind the efforts of Wild Bill Hallahan, who blanked the A’s 2-0. As the series shifted to St. Louis, the Athletics were handcuffed again, losing 5-2 to fall behind two games to one in the series. Facing a must-win game, George Earnshaw got the A’s back in the series by blanking the Cards 3-0. However, the A’s would find themselves on the brink heading back to Philadelphia after losing the vital fifth game 5-1. True Champions, the A’s bounced back in Game 6 to set up a decisive seventh game. However, it was not meant to be as the Cardinals emerged triumph with a 4-2 victory.
1932: Jimmie Foxx puts together one of the greatest offensive seasons in the history of baseball. His 169 RBI and 58 home runs each lead the league and help “Double X” win the MVP. It even looked as if Foxx would break the single-season home run record, but towards the end of the season, Foxx did not get anything good to hit, and Babe Ruth was able to hold on to his record. Babe Ruth would also defeat the Athletics, as the A’s 94-60 record was not good enough to beat the New York Yankees.
1933: Connie Mack is chosen to manage the American League squad in the first All-Star Game played at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The game allows Mack to face his old rival John McGraw, who was chosen to manage the National League for the final time. With Babe Ruth hitting the game’s first home run, Mack is able to get the last laugh against the man who once called his team “White Elephants.” Meanwhile, Jimmie Foxx repeats his MVP performance while winning the American League Triple Crown with a .356 average, 48 home runs, and 163 RBI. However, the Athletics were not able to finish better than third place with a 79-72 record.
1934: Ten days after the Philadelphia Athletics won the 1929 World Series, a devastating stock market crash triggered one of the darkest periods in American history, known as “The Great Depression.” The A’s were able to weather the first few years of the depression and continued to make it to the World Series and contend for the American League Pennants. However, as members of the Shibe family died, Connie Mack purchased additional shares and, by the mid-1930s, had acquired majority ownership. Money had always been a concern of the Macks and Shibes, who lived comfortably but did not have the enormous wealth of other owners who had large incomes from non-baseball related enterprises. With fewer fans coming to Shibe Park, Connie Mack was forced to sell off all the star players, much like he did 20 years earlier. Over three years between 1933-1935, the Athletics talented nucleus was dealt away, and the team was left with unproven rookies and veteran castoffs. In 1934 it would result in a losing season in which the A’s finished in fifth place with a 68-82 record.
1935: With most of their star players gone, the Athletics crash into last place with a woeful 58-91 record.
1936: The Athletics finished in last place for the second straight season, hitting the century mark in losses with a record of 53-100.
1937: The A’s set a new AL record in the opener of a doubleheader with the Chicago White Sox by scoring 12 runs in the first inning (six of which are driven in by Bob Johnson). However, it is the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismal seventh Place 54-97 season.
1938: The Athletics finished in last place for the third time in four years, narrowly avoiding 100 losses with a record of 53-99.
1939: In an attempt to draw better crowds at Shibe Park, Connie Mack decides to have lights installed, and becomes the first American League team to play night games. In the first night game, the Athletics lose in ten innings to the Cleveland Indians 8-3. Playing at night did not help as the A’s finished in seventh with a terrible 55-97 record.
1940: The Athletics struggles continue as they sit in last place again with a horrible record of 54-100.
1941: Even though the Athletics were mired in last place, and were one of the worst teams in baseball every year since 1935, Major League Baseball and the Athletics chose to honor Connie Mack with a special day. The city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania even declared May 17th a holiday as the Athletics honored their legendary manager at Shibe Park. It would be another season to forget as the A’s finished in last place with a record of 64-90.
1942: The Athletics narrowly avoid another 100-loss season as they finish in last place again with a record of 55-99.
1943: The Athletics misery reaches new lows during a 20-game losing streak. The A’s would go on to post an awful 49-105 record while finishing dead last again.
1944: The Athletics end a string of fourth straight last-place losing season by finishing in fifth place with a record of 72-82.
1945: The Athletics come crashing back down into last place, posting an awful record of 52-98.
1946: Even with the end of World War II, the Athletics struggles continue as the team finishes in last place again with a horrendous 49-105 record.
1947: The Athletics end a string of 12 losing seasons by finishing in fifth place with a 78-76 record.
1948: The Athletics continue to crawl back to respectability, finishing in fourth place with an 84-70 record.
1949: The Athletics close out an unsuccessful decade with their third straight winning season as they finish in fifth place with a record of 81-73.
1950: After 50 years at the helm, Connie Mack decides to retire at the age of 88. In his 50 years as manager, and president of the Philadelphia Athletics, the franchise win five World Championships and nine pennants. Although for the final 15 years of Mack’s career, the A’s consistently finished in last place, his spot in baseball’s lore was secure. In total, Connie Mack managed a Major League Record 7,755 games while winning a record 3,731games and losing a record 3,948 games. No one has ever approached either record, with the second closest in wins John McGraw trails by nearly 1,000 wins. In Mack’s final season, the A’s would finish in last place with a 52-102 record.
1951: In Jimmy Dykes’ first season as manager the Athletics finish in sixth place with a 70-84 record.
1952: The Athletics finish in 4th place with a 79-75 record, while two pitchers gather individual honors. Harry Byrd wins 15 and takes the Rookie of the Year, while Bobby Shantz leads the American League with 24 wins to collect the American League MVP.
1953: Jimmy Dykes is fired after his third season as manager of the Athletics. In Dykes’ final season, the A’s finish in seventh place with a woeful 59-95 record.
1954: Before the start of the season, the Athletics had their second manager in Eddie Joost in four years, as Shibe Park was renamed Connie Mack Stadium. That was about the only thing right with the Athletics in Philadelphia. In 1950 Connie Mack’s last seasons, the Phillies came out of nowhere to win the National League Pennant. It resulted in more and more fans becoming fans of Philadelphia’s National League franchise. As the Athletics were mired in another horrid 51-103 last-place season talks began to swirl, the team would be sold and moved out of the City of Brotherly Love. The talks would end being more than rumors, as the team was sold to Arnold Johnson who intended to move them to Kansas City. Since Philadelphia had a team in the National League that was already more popular and did not have a large enough fan base to support two teams, American League owners had no problem approving the move. After 54 years, the Philadelphia Athletics were no more.
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Page created on July 28, 2001. Last updated on March 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm ET.