A’s Fans Get to Relive the Glory Days with Hudson vs. Zito at the Coliseum on Saturday
Storybook endings rarely occur in real life. But of course baseball is not real life. In baseball, grown men get paid $25 million a year to throw balls at other grown men who tried to hit them with pieces of wood. Why not hope for storybook endings?
Pitchers Tim Hudson and Barry Zito? They’re getting storybook endings to their careers. On Saturday, the two pitchers will make what could very well be the final starts of their careers against each other, over a decade after they broke into the league as teammates in Oakland.
Of course, if you were born some time after 1990, then you might not appreciate the significance of Hudson vs. Zito. So please allow me to explain.
You see, from 2000 to 2005, Hudson, Zito, and Mark Mulder formed one of the best starting rotations in the history of baseball. During that period, they combined to give the Oakland A’s an average of 14 wins above replacement every year. That means, for example, that if the A’s didn’t have the Big Three in 2002, when the team won 103 games and won the AL West, they probably would have won only 89 and missed the playoffs.
In fact, this is the problem a lot of people had with Michael Lewis‘ seminal book, Moneyball. It attributed the Oakland A’s success in the early 2000s almost entirely to General Manager Billy Beane‘s ability to find “market inefficiencies” and barely mentioned that the A’s had three of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball at the top of their rotation.
The fans didn’t miss this fact, though. Hudson, Zito, and Mulder were superstars in Oakland, and fans were heartbroken with the Big Three was split up, with Mulder going to St. Louis, Hudson going to Atlanta, and Zito crossing the Bay to San Francisco.
However, Barry Zito, 37, signed a minor league deal with the A’s in the offseason. And last week, after spending all season in Triple-A, Zito got called up to the big leagues.
Now, with the Giants in town on Saturday and Tim Hudson, 40, scheduled to make the start, the A’s have decided to give Zito one last start in the big leagues against his former teammate. Then, on Sunday, the two will be joined by Mark Mulder and all three will throw out the first pitch.
— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) September 22, 2015
— MLB (@MLB) September 22, 2015
— A’s Ticket Services (@ticketservices) September 22, 2015
Pretty awesome, right?
Hat Tip – [ESPN]