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On This Date in 1901, the Brand-New Philadelphia Athletics Played Their First Game

In a dozen decades, no Athletics season - not in Philadelphia, Kansas City or Oakland - has started later than April 26. That will change this year, assuming there is a next year, with baseball still on a pandemic-induced hold.
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The Oakland A’s will set a franchise record, perhaps sometimes soon. Perhaps not.

The first team representing the A’s franchise played its first game on April 26, 1901. A's statistical guru Mike Selleck reminds us that playing in Philadelphia’s brand-new Columbia Park, the A’s got three hits from second baseman Nap Lajoie but lost to the Washington Senators 5-1.

The first game was actually scheduled for April 24, but the season’s first two games were rained out.

And, with the inclusion of the 1995 season, when a strike delayed the beginning of the American League season and led to another April 26 start – this one a 13-1 loss at Toronto – April 26 stands as the deepest into the calendar any A’s team has gone to start the season.

When the 2020 season will start is anybody’s guess. What we do know is that it will be the A’s 120th season.

Here are some franchise numbers from Philadelphia, Kansas City and Oakland:

Stadiums called home – 4*: Columbia Park (1901-08); Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium (1909-1954); Kansas City Municipal Stadium (1955-67); Oakland Coliseum (1968-present). *-Cashman Field was the A's home for the first six games of the 1996 due to construction delays with the Coliseum being restructured for the Raiders.

World Series wins – 9: 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1989

World series losses – 5: 1905, 1914, 1931, 1988, 1990.

Games played (wins-losses) – 18,480 (9028-9452).

Seasons over .500 – 55.

Seasons at .500 – 2.

Seasons under .500 – 62.

Majority owners/ownership groups – 8: Ben Shibe (1901-1922); Connie Mack (1922-1950)’ Earle Mack & Roy Mack (1950-54), Arnold Johnson (1954-60); Charlie Finley (1960-10), Walter A. Haas Jr. (1908-95), Steve Schott and Ken Hoffman (1995-2005), John Fisher (2005-present).

Members of the Hall of Fame (at least 4 seasons with A’s) – 18: Connie Mack (manager); Nap Lajoie (2B); Eddie Collins (2B); Eddie Plank (LH starter); Lefty Grove (LH starter); Mickey Cochrane (C); Herb Pennock (LH starter); Jimmie Foxx (1B); Al Simmons (OF); Chief Bender (RH starter); Home Run Baker (3B); Catfish Hunter (RH starter); Rollie Fingers (RH reliever), Reggie Jackson (OF), Dennis Eckersley (RH reliever), Dick Williams (manager, 3 years, 2 World Series titles); Rickey Henderson (OF); Tony La Russa (manager).

MVPs – 12 (13 times): Eddie Collins (1914), Mickey Cochrane (1928), Lefty Grove (1931), Jimmy Foxx (1932-33), Bobby Schantz (1952), Vida Blue (1971), Reggie Jackson (1973), Jose Canseco (1988), Rickey Henderson (1990), Dennis Eckersley (1992), Jason Giambi (2000), Miguel Tejada (2002).

Cy Young Awards – 5: Vida Blue (1971), Catfish Hunter (1974), Bob Welch (1990), Dennis Eckersley (1992), Barry Zito (2002).

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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