Seventy years ago, the A’s cumulative franchise record last reached baseball’s equator: a perfect .500 record.
On June 7, 1941—the same day Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak reached 22 games—the A’s lost to the Indians 6-2 to drop their all-time record to 3,015-3,015. They dropped their next four games after that and played poorly the rest of the season, ensuring their record stayed under .500. Then they lost 99 games the next year. And 105 in the following campaign. And so on.
To make a long story short, they posted only two winning seasons in the next two decades, and didn’t top 90 wins until Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, and Rollie Fingers were on the squad. By that time they were so far under .500 that they’ve never been able to get back to the promised land of franchise-wide mediocrity.
They bottomed out at 763 games under .500 on May 21, 1968 (4,730-5,493), a mark only two others franchises have reached: the Browns/Orioles, and the Phillies. Even the Senators/Twins never went 763 games under (instead bottoming out a 739 games).
Despite all their success since May 1968—four world titles, six pennants, 15 playoff appearances—the A’s have filled only 35 percent of their hole. Prior to Monday, they’re 488 games under .500.
When the A’s have been good, they’ve been very good. But when they’ve been bad, they’ve been even worse. Much worse. Thus today marks 70 years under water for the franchise.
Here are some other events celebrating their anniversary or “day-versary” (an event that happened X-thousand days ago) today. The better ones in bold if you just want to skim:
2,000 days since the Twins sign Tony Batista
2,000 days since the Tigers sign Kenny Rogers
4,000 days since Andruw Jones hits his 100th home run
7,000 days since Buck Showalter managed his first MLB game
7,000 days since Tom Glavine posts his highest Game Score as a Brave: 90. His line: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K. He twice posted a 92 Game Score with the Mets.
10,000 days since the Expos sign Pete Rose
20,000 days since the MLB debut of Mike McCormick, only 17 years and 339 days old at the time
1888 Pete Browning, the original Louisville Sluggers, hits for the cycle for the second time in his career.
1893 Louisville trades future Hall of Famer Hughie Jennings to Baltimore.
1894 Ted Breitenstein, St. Louis, walks 13 men in 19-8 loss to Boston. He led the league in ERA the year before, but won’t this season.
1898 Brooklyn owner/president Charles Ebbets takes over as manager. He wears a silk hat while doing so.
1900 New York Giant pitcher Cy Seymour “scatters” 10 hits and 11 walks to win 11-3.
1904 Frank Selee, Hall of Fame skipper, manages his 2,000th game: 1,181-786 record. (They had more ties back then).
1906 Noodles Hahn, one of those greatly talented pitchers whose arms didn’t quite hold up, pitches his last game.
1908 Detroit turns a triple play against Boston for the second straight day.
1915 Connie Mack loses his 1,000th game (1,386-1,000)
1921 Appalachian League game in Kingsport, Tenn. canceled when the body of a murdered girl is found in the ballpark.
1924 Burleigh Grimes completes his 26th consecutive start. Talk all you want about era differences, that’s impressive. His line: 16-10, 228 IP, 248 H, 102 R, 82 ER, 62 BB, 88 K. 3.24 ERA.
1925 12-inning Reds-Braves game features 10 double plays.
1929 Babe Ruth enters hospital for chest cold and is diagnosed with a heart murmur. He’s ordered to rest.
1931 A’s win 12-2 over the Tigers despite leaving 18 men on base.
1932 Mel Ott hits the first of four career walk-off home runs.
1932 Jack Quinn, a 48-year-old pitcher, hits a double, becoming the oldest person to ever collect an extra-base hit.
1933 Herb Score born
1936 Arky Vaughan, Hall of Fame shortstop, has his longest hitting streak ever max out at 19 games.
1936 Red Ruffing lasts 16 innings, his longest outing ever, and doesn’t fan a single batter. It’ll be the last time anyone pitches 15 or more innings without fanning anyone. NYY 5, CLE 4 (16). Opposing starter Oral Hildebrand also tosses a complete game.
1937 Earl Averill hits his 100th triple.
1937 Earl Whitehill, a 38-year-old pitcher, steals a base for the first time since 1925. As an added bonus, he collects his 200th career win on the day. (200-164 career record).
1938 Indians pitcher Johnny Allen pitches with a tattered sleeve on his pitching arm. He’s ordered by the umps to change uniforms as his sleeve distracted hitters at the plate. He refuses to change his shirt or pitch. He’s ejected, and fined $250. He pays the fine by selling the shirt for $500.
1939 Tony Lazzeri, Hall of Fame second baseman, plays his last game as the Giants (his current team) release him that day.
1940 St. Louis Cardinals, 15-29 at the moment, fire manager Ray Blades and replace him with Billy Southworth. Under Southworth, the Cards become a dynamo in the 1940s, eventually earning him a plaque in Cooperstown as a manager.
1941 Ted Williams gets a hit in his 23rd consecutive game, his longest streak ever. Just think: DiMaggio’s 56-game streak was at 22 games at this moment, too.
1945 Red Sox skipper Joe Cronin wins his 1,000th MLB game (1,000-871).
1946 Pirates, the first arena for recruitment for the American Baseball Guild, votes 20-16 to strike, but that falls short of the needed two-thirds majority to do so.
1947 Don Money born
1947 Thurman Munson born
1950 Richie Ashburn begins consecutive games played streak that will break 700
1952 Indians sign amateur free agent Herb Score. Happy 19th birthday.
1959 Baltimore’s Hoyt Wilhelm is normally a reliever, but on this day he wins his third consecutive complete game shutout. It’s also his ninth straight win.
1963 Mets sign amateur free agent Bud Harrelson.
1966 Bob Gibson fans four in the fourth inning.
1966 Draft day highlights: A’s: Reggie Jackson; Angels: Andy Messersmith; Pirates: Richie Hebner; Cubs: Joe Niekro; Dodgers: Charlie Hough and Bill Russell. Notables drafted this year but not signed: Steve Garvey (Twins); Darrell Evans (Tigers); and Ron Cey (Mets).
1966 Jim Bunning fans 14, tying his personal best. 9 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 14 K as the Phillies destroy the Reds 14-1.
1967 Willie Stargell hits his 100th home run.
1968 Draft day highlights: Red Sox: Bill Lee, Cecil Cooper, and Ben Oglivie; Orioles: Al Bumbry; Royals: Paul Splitorff; Cubs: Oscar Gamble; Yankees: Thurmon Munson; Dodgers: Bobby Valentine, Steve Garvey, Bill Buckner, and Ron Cey; Phillies: Greg Luzinski; Giants: Gary Mathews. Notables drafted that day who wouldn’t be signed: Mickey Rivers (Mets); Steve Stone (Indians), and Duane Kuiper (Yankees).
1969 Luis Tiant hits his only career triple. He also throws a complete-game shutout two-hitter to go with it.
1972 Nate Colbert becomes the first Padre to have 100 homers with the franchise.
1973 Dodgers sign free agent Jeffrey Leonard
1974 Jim Palmer losses his seventh straight decision, the only time he has a losing streak longer than four in his career. His line: 0-7, 7 GS, 38.1 IP, 49 H, 29 R, 25 ER, 17 BB, 19 K. 5.87 ERA.
1974 Faulty popcorn machine causes fire in right field stands at Comiskey Park.
1975 Royals sign Dan Quisenberry as amateur free agents.
1977 Draft day highlights: White Sox: Harold Baines; Brewers: Paul Molitor; Cardinals: Terry Kennedy; Mets: Wally Backman and Mookie Wilson; Dodgers: Bob Welch; Expos: Scot Sanderson; Cardinals: Ozzie Smith; Expos: Tim Raines; Blue Jays: Jesse Barfield, and Giants: Chili Davis. The most impressive guys drafted who wouldn’t be signed include: Hubie Brooks (White Sox), and Tony Phillips (Mariners).
1979 Orioles prospect Mike Boddicker sets a Southern League record by fanning 18 in one game.
1980 White Sox trade Claudell Washington to the Mets.
1981 Astros trade Joaquin Andjuar to the Cardinals.
1982 Draft day highlights: Cubs: Shawon Dunston; Mets: Dwight Gooden, Randy Myers, and Roger McDowell; Blue Jays: Duane Wells and Jimmy Key; Red Sox: Mike Greenwell; Padres: Mitch Williams; Reds: Tom Browning; Cardinals: Vince Coleman and Terry Pendelton; A’s: Jose Canseco; Royals: Bret Saberhagen and Cecil Fielder; Rangers: Kenny Rogers. Best guys drafted who didn’t sign: Rafael Palmerio (Mets), Rod Dibble (Cardinals), Barry Bonds (Giants), Barry Larkin (Reds—they got him in a later draft, though).
1982 Steve Garvey plays his 1,000th consecutive game.
1983 Pete Rose plays his seventh straight game without a hit, the only time he does that.
1987 Yankees trade Joe Niekro to the Twins.
1989 A Toronto-Milwaukee game becomes the first to be played both indoors and outdoors. The Skydome roof is open at the outset, but closes as rain comes along. The roof takes a while to close (over a half-hour) necessitating a brief stoppage of play.
1992 Juan Gonzalez hits three home runs in one game
1992 Trevor Hoffman, San Diego, strikes out the side in the ninth inning on nine pitches.
1994 Ricky Henderson steals his 1,100 base.
1995 Tommy Lasorda posts his 1,500th win as LA manager. He’s the 14th manager to reach the 1,500-plateau. His record: 1,500-1,358.
1995 Wade Boggs hits his 100th home run.
1995 Curt Schilling has maybe his worst day at the plate ever: 0-for-5 with 3 Ks.
1996 The Twins and A’s play the only scheduled doubleheader of the year. Rainouts will cause all others.
1997 Tony Gwynn hits his 100th home run.
1997 Eight of the ten hits in today’s Syracuse-Pawtucket game in the International League are homers. They other two hits are a double and single. SYR 7, PAW 3.
1998 Baltimore retires Eddie Murray’s number (33).
1999 Bizarre bottom-of-the ninth in Angels-Rockies game features Larry Walker play third base and second base for one plate appearance each. He’s at third for an intentional walk, and then at second when Colorado tosses a walk-off wild pitch to lose 6-5.
1999 John Smoltz has possibly his best day at the plate: 2-for-3 with a HR and three RBIs.
2000 Jim Thome hits four extra base hits in one game: two doubles and two home runs.
2001 Jason Varitek, Boston, breaks his elbow. He’s out for the year.
2002 Albert Pujols hits his first three-double game of the years.
2002 Mike Veeck of the St. Paul Saints in the Northern League has a special promotion. Fans get a seat cushion with the photo of Bud Selig’s face on one side and union chief Donald Fehr on the other side.
2002 Tampa pitcher Nick Bierbrodt shot three times while sitting in fast food drive in.
2003 Andruw Jones hits his 200th home run.
2005 Draft day highlights: Diamondbacks: Justin Upton; Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman; Brewers: Ryan Braun; Rockies: Troy Tulowitzski; Twins: Matt Garza; Red Sox: Clay Buchholz. Finally, the Indians draft but don’t sign Tim Lincecum.
2007 Joe Torre wins his 2,000 game as a manager: 2,000-1,733.
2008 Andy Pettitte ties an unwanted personal record by allowing 10 runs in one start.
2008 The best WPA game by any batter in Marlins history occurs as Cody Ross posts a 1.139 WPA. His line: 2-for-4 with a home run, walk, and stolen base with a run and 3 RBIs. Marlins 8, Reds 7.
2008 Johnny Damon, Yankee, gets six hits in a game.
2009 Bobby Abreu records his 2,000th hit.
2010 Carlos Silva becomes one of the least likely 8-0 pitchers of all-time.
2010 Draft day highlights: White Sox: Chris Sale. We’ll see how he and all the others shake out over time.
2010 Brewers cut Jeff Suppan.