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Game 94: Twins at A’s

I figured out why the A’s are so bad—they used to play in Kansas City!

Roger Maris of the Kansas City Athletics

First Pitch: 3:07 PM CT

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: TIBN

Know Thine Enemy: Athletics Nation

It has sometimes seemed like the only team the Minnesota Twins can reliably beat in 2023 is the Kansas City Royals (9-1 MN advantage). The Oakland Athletics are just as bad the Royals, and I may have figured out the reason. I’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with talent and resource management/allocation, and everything to do with the fact that the A’s actually played in KC for a time!

The Athletics started their franchise journey in Philadelphia (1901-1954), of all places. These were the Connie Mack, Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, etc. years in which the team was either a juggernaut or a fire sale (think: 1997-2003 Marlins).

Jimmie Foxx Swinging Baseball Bat
Double X

In 1955, the A’s were purchased by real estate mogul Arnold Johnson and moved to Kansas City, MO. Initially hailed as a hero for bringing baseball to KC, fans quickly realized that no resources would be put into the team and rumors abounded that Johnson only hopped to the Midwest to get a wee bit closer to Los Angeles for that potential expansion.

The proof was in the pudding, as the Athletics did not put together one winning season—but did manage eight 90+ loss campaigns—in their 1955-1967 KC tenure. Their overall line: 829-1,224 (.404 WP). Adding insult to injury, Johnson had previous business relations with New York Yankees ownership and often sold top prospects he didn’t want to pay any longer to the Big Apple. In fact, 10 players from the World Series champion 1961 Yankees (including Roger Maris) came from the KC Athletics farm system.

Denver Post Archives
An early pic of some 1956 KC A’s figures
Denver Post via Getty Images

In a strange turn of fate, a Missouri municipal bond somehow passed to build a stadium for the A’s despite all that losing, but new owner—as of 1960—Charles O. Finley decided to move them to Oakland anyway. The bond would ultimately lead to the creation of Kauffman Stadium for the expansion Royals in 1969.

Freed from the Show-Me State, Finley’s Oakland A’s immediately started winning. By 1972-1974, they had captured three consecutive Commissioner’s Trophies!

World Series:Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Dodgers, October, 1974
A 3-peat for the A’s of Oakland!
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

It looks like Las Vegas might be the next landing strip (pardon the pun) for the boys in yellow and green. But until such a trip commences, the current Athletics perform far more like their Kansas City variety than its Philly predecessor or Oakland successor.

Thus far, the Twins have taken advantage of Oakland’s pseudo-affiliation with Kansas City. Can they finish off the sweep this (late) afternoon?

Today's Lineups

Carlos Correa - SS Tony Kemp - LF
Donovan Solano - 2B Zack Gelof - 2B
Byron Buxton - DH JJ Bleday - CF
Kyle Farmer - 3B Seth Brown - RF
Willi Castro - LF Tyler Soderstrom - 1B
Max Kepler - RF Jordan Diaz - DH
Christian Vazquez - C Aledmys Diaz - 3B
Michael Taylor - CF Shea Langeliers - C
Alex Kirilloff - 1B Nick Allen - SS
Joe Ryan - RHP JP Sears - LHP