The Oakland Big Three: The Best Young Trio Ever In Baseball

Parker EhingerContributor IJune 22, 2009

I still wonder to this day what Billy Beane was thinking when he let these three guys get split up, they were the most dominating force in baseball to this day. 

Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson, the most dominating pitchers Oakland has ever seen since Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, and Blue Moon Odom. 

Barry Zito, who debuted in 2000, was not a guy known for throwing hard, but he was known for his wicked 12-to-6 curveball that could even fool the best hitters in baseball. 

Zito who went 7-and-4 with a 2.72 ERA as a rookie, really wanted to show what he could do so next year he went 17-and-8 with 3.49 ERA and 205 Ks. He really surprised everybody the next year, winning the Cy Young Award, winning 23 games and only losing five with a team that didn't have very much hitting at all. 

Zito won 102 games as a Oakland Athletic, losing 63 with a 3.55 ERA, and 1096 K's.  Zito's career was basically ruined when he signed as a free agent with the Giants, he went so far downhill that its going to be hard for him to get back.

Then there's Mark Mulder, who also debuted in 2000, who didn't seem like a good pitcher because how lanky he was (6'6'', 215 pounds). But he sure proved them wrong, as he only went 9-and-10 in his rookie year, but the next year he exploded winning 21 games and losing eight. He had the most wins in the AL in 2001, he had a 3.45 ERA with 153 K's. 

In the next three years as a Athletic he won above 15 games and never lost more than nine games.  Mulder won 81 and lost 42 with Oakland in five years, but since, he was traded, he has struggled staying healthy, he get hurts all the time. I feel bad for the guy because I'm sure he would've been better if he stayed in Oakland.

And last Tim Hudson, who debuted in 1999, was a pitcher with a lot of nasty stuff. He was the veteran of the three even though he had only played for one more season. 

Tim Hudson had a very good rookie season going 11-and-2 with 3.23 ERA. But then he even stepped it up the next year winning 20 games, first most in the AL that year, only losing six with a 4.14 ERA and 169 K's. 

Hudson won more than 12 games and lost no more than nine games in the next four years as an Athletic, and overall he went 92-and-39 for Oakland. He was probably the only one of the three that didn't go downhill after being traded, although I would like to see him, Zito, and Mulder still wearing yellow, green, and white.

I mean they are no Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, but at least stat-wise you can just imagine if they were still in Oakland, but they are the best young trio ever.

You still have to question what Billy Beane must have thought once when those three left, because his team got worse and the best three pitchers of the early 2000's went to all play for different teams.