1997 Oakland Athletics
Major League affiliations
Location
Results
Record65–97 (.401)
Divisional place4th
Other information
Owner(s)Stephen Schott
Kenneth Hofmann
General manager(s)Sandy Alderson
Manager(s)Art Howe
Local televisionKRON-TV
Sports Channel Pacific
(Ray Fosse, Greg Papa, Ken Wilson)
Local radioKFRC
(Bill King, Ken Korach, Ray Fosse)
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The Oakland Athletics' 1997 season was the team's 30th in Oakland, California. It was also the 97th season in franchise history. The team finished fourth in the American League West with a record of 65-97.

The Athletics, coming off a surprising (if still mediocre) 78-84 campaign, hoped to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1992. With this in mind, the team traded for slugger Jose Canseco. Canseco, who had played for the Athletics from 1985 to 1992, was reunited with fellow superstar (and fellow "Bash Brother") Mark McGwire. In addition to McGwire and Canseco, Oakland's impressive collection of power hitters included Jason Giambi, Gerónimo Berroa, and Matt Stairs.

Little was done, however, to shore up the Athletics' abysmal 1996 pitching staff. Ariel Prieto, owner of a 4.41 career ERA (Earned Run Average), was named the Opening Day starter; a succession of poorly regarded players filled out the rest of the starting rotation and bullpen. While optimism remained high for the team's offense, great concern remained for its pitching staff.

In the end, Oakland's offense and pitching both fared terribly. For the second consecutive year, no Athletics pitcher won ten or more games; even worse, no starter won more than six. None of the team's top four starters (Ariel Prieto, Steve Karsay, Mike Oquist, and Dave Telgheder) finished the season with an ERA of less than 5.00; the Athletics, as a team, finished with an earned run average of 5.48 (easily the MLB's worst). All told, the A's allowed a season total of 946 runs. This remains the worst such figure in Oakland history.

More puzzling was the fate of the offense. Oakland, as expected, remained one of the league's best power-hitting teams. The Athletics' sluggers hit a total of 197 home runs (third-most in the American League). Oakland's home runs failed to generate much offense, however, as a low team batting average negated most of the team's other advantages. Oakland scored a total of 764 runs in 1997 (the 11th highest total in the American League).

These awful performances quickly removed the A's from contention. On May 31, they were already nine games out of first place; their position steadily worsened throughout the summer. In light of this, General Manager Sandy Alderson traded Mark McGwire (who, at the time, was on pace to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record) to the St. Louis Cardinals for T.J. Matthews, Blake Stein, and Eric Ludwick. McGwire would finish the season with 58 home runs (four shy of breaking the record). The trade was a disaster on the Athletics' end, as none of the three players received in the trade panned out. The A's ultimately finished twenty-five games behind the first-place Seattle Mariners. Their 65-97 finish (the club's worst since 1979) led to the removal of Sandy Alderson as General Manager on October 17; he was replaced by Billy Beane. Manager Art Howe, however, was retained for the 1998 season.

The 1997 season would ultimately prove to be the Athletics' nadir. The continued rise of Jason Giambi, the debuts of Ben Grieve and Miguel Tejada, the acquisition of Tim Hudson in the 1997 MLB draft, and the ascension of Billy Beane to the position of general manager paved the way for a lengthy period of success from 1999 onwards.

Offseason

Regular season

Transactions

Season standings

AL West W L Pct. GB Home Road
Seattle Mariners 90 72 0.556 45–36 45–36
Anaheim Angels 84 78 0.519 6 46–36 38–42
Texas Rangers 77 85 0.475 13 39–42 38–43
Oakland Athletics 65 97 0.401 25 35–46 30–51

Record vs. opponents


Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
Team ANA BAL BOS CWS CLE DET KC MIL MIN NYY OAK SEA TEX TOR NL 
Anaheim 4–7 6–5 6–5 7–4 5–6 6–5 7–4 4–7 4–7 11–1 6–6 8–4 6–5 4–12
Baltimore 7–4 5–7 5–6 6–5 6–6 7–4 5–6 10–1 8–4 8–3 7–4 10–1 6–6 8–7
Boston 5–6 7–5 3–8 6–5 5–7 3–8 8–3 8–3 4–8 7–4 7–4 3–8 6–6 6–9
Chicago 5–6 6–5 8–3 5–7 4–7 11–1 4–7 6–6 2–9 8–3 5–6 3–8 5–6 8–7
Cleveland 4–7 5–6 5–6 7–5 6–5 8–3 8–4 8–4 5–6 7–4 3–8 5–6 6–5 9–6
Detroit 6–5 6–6 7–5 7–4 5–6 6–5 4–7 4–7 2–10 7–4 4–7 7–4 6–6 8–7
Kansas City 5–6 4–7 8–3 1–11 3–8 5–6 6–6 7–5 3–8 3–8 5–6 6–5 5–6 6–9
Milwaukee 4–7 6–5 3–8 7–4 4–8 7–4 6–6 5–7 4–7 5–6 5–6 7–4 7–4 8–7
Minnesota 7–4 1–10 3–8 6–6 4–8 7–4 5–7 7–5 3–8 7–4 5–6 3–8 3–8 7–8
New York 7–4 4–8 8–4 9–2 6–5 10–2 8–3 7–4 8–3 6–5 4–7 7–4 7–5 5–10
Oakland 1–11 3–8 4–7 3–8 4–7 4–7 8–3 6–5 4–7 5–6 5–7 5–7 6–5 7–9
Seattle 6–6 4–7 4–7 6–5 8–3 7–4 6–5 6–5 6–5 7–4 7–5 8–4 8–3 7–9
Texas 4–8 1–10 8–3 8–3 6–5 4–7 5–6 4–7 8–3 4–7 7–5 4–8 4–7 10–6
Toronto 5–6 6–6 6–6 6–5 5–6 6–6 6–5 4–7 8–3 5–7 5–6 3–8 7–4 4–11


Roster

1997 Oakland Athletics
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Manager

Coaches

Player stats

= Indicates team leader

Batting

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; R = Runs scored; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in; SB = Stolen Bases

Pos Player G AB R H Avg. HR RBI SB
C Brent Mayne 85 256 29 74 .289 6 22 1
1B Mark McGwire 105 366 48 104 .284 34 81 1
2B Scott Spiezio 147 538 58 131 .243 14 65 9
3B Scott Brosius 129 479 59 97 .203 11 41 9
SS Rafael Bournigal 79 222 29 62 .279 1 20 2
LF Jason Giambi 142 519 66 152 .293 20 81 0
CF Damon Mashore 92 279 55 69 .247 3 18 5
RF Matt Stairs 133 352 62 105 .298 27 73 3
DH José Canseco 108 388 56 91 .235 23 74 8

[9]

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; R = Runs scored; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in; SB = Stolen Bases

Player G AB R H Avg. HR RBI SB
Tony Batista 68 188 22 38 .202 4 18 2
Mark Bellhorn 68 224 33 51 .228 6 19 7
Gerónimo Berroa 73 261 40 81 .310 16 42 3
Tilson Brito 17 46 8 13 .283 2 6 0
Ben Grieve 24 93 12 29 .312 3 24 0
Patrick Lennon 56 116 14 34 .293 1 14 0
Brian Lesher 46 131 17 30 .229 4 16 4
Dave Magadan 128 271 38 82 .303 4 30 1
Jason McDonald 78 236 47 62 .263 4 14 13
Izzy Molina 48 111 6 22 .198 3 7 0
Scott Sheldon 13 24 2 6 .250 1 2 0
Miguel Tejada 26 99 10 20 .202 2 10 2
George Williams 76 201 30 58 .289 3 22 0
Ernie Young 71 175 22 39 .223 5 15 1

Pitching

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; BB = Walks allowed; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA BB SO
Steve Karsay 24 132.2 3 12 5.77 47 92
Ariel Prieto 27 125.0 6 8 5.04 70 90
Mike Oquist 19 107.2 4 6 5.02 43 72
Dave Telgheder 20 101.0 4 6 6.06 35 55
Brad Rigby 14 77.2 1 7 4.87 22 34
Jimmy Haynes 13 73.1 3 6 4.42 40 65
Willie Adams 13 58.1 3 5 8.18 32 37
Eric Ludwick 6 24.0 1 4 8.25 16 14
Steve Wojciechowski 2 10.1 0 2 7.84 1 5

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Don Wengert 49 134.0 5 11 6.04 68
Mike Mohler 62 101.2 1 10 5.13 66
Carlos Reyes 37 77.1 3 4 5.82 43
Andrew Lorraine 12 29.2 3 1 6.37 18

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L SV ERA SO
Buddy Groom 78 64.2 2 2 3 5.15 45
Billy Taylor 72 73.0 3 4 23 3.82 66
Aaron Small 71 96.2 9 5 4 4.28 57
Dane Johnson 38 45.2 4 1 2 4.53 43
T.J. Mathews 24 28.2 6 2 3 4.40 24
Mark Acre 15 15.2 2 0 0 5.74 12
Richie Lewis 14 18.2 2 0 0 9.64 12
Tim Kubinski 11 12.2 0 0 0 5.68 10
Jay Witasick 8 11.0 0 0 0 5.73 8
Gary Haught 6 11.1 0 0 0 7.15 11
John Johnstone 5 6.1 0 0 0 2.84 4
Steve Montgomery 4 6.1 0 1 0 9.95 1
Billy Brewer 3 2.0 0 0 0 13.50 1

Awards and records

Farm system

See also: Minor League Baseball

Level Team League Manager
AAA Edmonton Trappers Pacific Coast League Gary Jones
AA Huntsville Stars Southern League Mike Quade
A Modesto A's California League Jeffrey Leonard
A Visalia Oaks California League Tony DeFrancesco
A-Short Season Southern Oregon Timberjacks Northwest League John Kuehl
Rookie AZL Athletics Arizona League Juan Navarrette

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Edmonton

References

  1. ^ "Dane Johnson Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  2. ^ "Mike Oquist Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  3. ^ a b "Frank Catalanotto Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  4. ^ a b "Scott Service Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  5. ^ Sports Illustrated, Oct 27, 2008, p.24, Vol. 109, No. 16
  6. ^ "Brent Mayne Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  7. ^ "Tim Hudson Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  8. ^ "Tilson Brito Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  9. ^ "1997 Oakland Athletics Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  10. ^ Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p.372, David Nemec and Scott latow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0

Sources