Nostalgia for Numbers: Athletics Celebrate 50 Years in OaklandMatt Olson rounds third and heads for home on a Mark Canhain first-inning hit.
Last night, the Oakland Athletics celebrated 50 years of baseball in California and in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum by hosting a free (yes, free) game against the Chicago White Sox and donned throwback uniforms. I've always been a sucker for retro baseball uniforms.
All tickets for last night's game were distributed free of charge to fans. A grand total of 46,028 fans packed the ballpark that can hold up to 47,170. Lew Krausse, who started the first game played in the Coliseum, tossed out the first pitch. Not only were tickets free, the Athletics unloaded their offense and hammered the White Sox, 10-2.
White Sox starting pitcher, Miguel Gonzalez (58), exits the game in the fourth inning.
The anniversary game was played half a century - to the date - of the first game in Oakland. The Baltimore Orioles beat Krausse and the Athletics, 4-1, back in 1968. Book Powell launched the first home run off of Krausse in the park's inaugural game.
While the Athletics have played in Oakland for 50 years, the franchise dates back to the founding of the American League in 1901. Formed as the Philadelphia Athletics, the team played on the East Coast through 1954 before relocating to Kansas City, Missouri. Following the 1967 season, the team packed up and shipped off to California. Only the National League's Braves have called that many cities home (Boston, 1871-1952; Milwaukee, 1953-1965; Atlanta, 1966-present).
Despite playing in front of a nearly-packed house, Major League Baseball has decided not to count the total in the team's year-end attendance mark. No, it's not a punishment against the Athletics. MLB only counts paid-attendance toward a team's total mark each season. While the game counts in the standings, Oakland will only play 80 home games that count toward attendance.
Photos: Ezra Shaw, Chicago Tribune / Getty Images