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Oakland A's: 50 Greatest Players, Part 1 of 10

Kevin KraczkowskiCorrespondent IIIJanuary 2, 2017

Oakland A's: 50 Greatest Players, Part 1 of 10

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    The A's have nine World Series Championships, 14 AL Championships and 23 playoff appearances to their credit.

    In 111 seasons and three cities, the Athletics have seen 1,778 players come and go.  Some for one game, some for a few seasons, a few for a decade or more.

    The 50 best Athletics of All-Time represent less than three percent of all the players to lace up their cleats for the franchise.

    In recent years, advanced statistical analysis has reached the point where it has become possible to rate all players one against the other, pitcher, outfielder, catcher and designated hitter.

    This list was compiled from data culled from www.baseball-reference.com, namely the "Wins Above Replacement" statistic.  The following are ascending from 50-46.

50. Mark Mulder (2000-2004, WAR: 17.5)

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    Mulder made his Major League debut with the A's in 2000, and posted a 9-10 record with a 5.44 ERA in his rookie season.  It got a lot better.

    In 2001, Mulder placed second in the Cy Young award voting, losing to Roger Clemens and leading the AL in wins with a 21-8 record with a 3.45 ERA and a 1.156 WHIP.

    Mulder was frequently in the league top 10 in wins, ERA, WHIP, and complete games for the Athletics. 

    He was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 2005 season.

    He posted an 81-42 record with a 3.92 ERA, tossing 22 complete games and 8 shutouts.  He made the All Star team in 2003 and 2004.

49. Wally Moses (1935-1941, 1949-1951, WAR: 17.8)

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    Moses broke into the big leagues with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1935 and posted a .325 average in 85 games, walking more than he struck out.  It was a trend he would continue throughout his A's career.

    In 1937, Moses made his only all-star appearance, belting 25 home runs to go along with 86 RBI's, both career highs.

    In 1941 he was traded to the Chicago White Sox, and later would also play for the Boston Red Sox.

    He would resign with Philadelphia as a free agent after the 1948 season and play for three more years before retiring.

    He accumulated a .307 batting average over 1,168 games for the A's, hitting 64 home runs and 409 RBI's.

48. Bill North (1973-1978, WAR: 18.4)

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    North was drafted in the 12th round of the 1969 draft by the Chicago Cubs.  He made his Major League debut with them in 1971.  He was then traded to the defending World Champion Oakland Athletics following the 1972 season.

    For Oakland, North batted first and stole a lot of bases.  He also covered a lot of ground in center field.

    He led the league in steals in 1974, with 54, and again in 1976, with 75.

    North played in 669 games over six seasons for the Athletics, posting a .364 OBP and 232 stolen bases.

    He would later play for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Fransisco Giants.

47. Jack Coombs (1906-1914, WAR: 18.5)

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    Coombs, or "Colby Jack," signed on with the Philadelphia Athletics as a free agent in 1905.  He made his debut in 1906 and would play his first nine Major League seasons with the A's.

    In 1910, Coombs anchored a staff of aces for the eventual World Series Champions by posting a 31-9 record with a 1.30 ERA and a WHIP of 1.028 in 353 innings.  He also tossed 13 shutouts and 11 one run games.

    He followed with a record of 28-12 in 1911, again helping to win the Championship.  He was a combined 4-0 in five postseason contests.

    In 238 games,  Coombs compiled a 115-67 record with a 2.60 ERA.

    He later made appearances with the Brooklyn Robins and the Detroit Tigers.  He then managed the Duke college team for 23 seasons.


46. Bobby Shantz (1949-1956, WAR: 19.3)

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    Shantz, a left handed pitcher, signed with the A's as a free agent in 1948.  He made his Major League debut in 1949, and would stay with the A's for their last six seasons in Philadelphia and their first two seasons in Kansas City.

    Shantz made the All-Star team in 1951 by posting an 18-10 record, but he really made his mark in the following season.

    In 1952, Shantz again made the All-Star team, also leading the league in wins with a 24-7 record, a league best WHIP of 1.048, and a 2.48 ERA.  He won the AL's MVP award that season.

    In eight seasons with the Athletics, Shantz posted a 69-65 record with a 3.80 ERA. 

    Shantz would go on to play for the New York Yankees, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Houston Colt .45s, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs, and the Philadelphia Phillies.

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