1. The Catch
Oct. 15, 1972, was Game Two of the 1972 World Series. The favored Cincinnati Reds hosted the AL champion Oakland Aís. The Aís had surprisingly won the first game, 3-2 (the first of a record six games decided by one run in this World Series), on the strength of a pair of home runs by little-known catcher Gene Tenace. The Reds badly wanted to win Game Two. Teams that drop the first two home games in a World Series have awful odds to win it all.
Oakland, however, took an early lead, scoring one in the second inning on an RBI single by ace pitcher Catfish Hunter. In the third, Oakland got an additional run from a solo shot by leftfielder Joe Rudi. The Aís made the 2-0 lead stick, maintaining it into the ninth.
In the ninth, Hunter began to tire, though. First he allowed a leadoff single to Tony Perez. Then he let a pitch go that nearly cost the Aís the lead. Cincinnatiís Dennis Menke connected on a Hunter pitch with a massive shot that went deep to left. For a little bit, it looked like the ball might go out for a two-run homer, but it didnít quite have enough to go over the fence.
Instead it went to Rudi, who was about to make an all-time great circus catch. It wasnít just an ordinary catch at the wall as several factors made it worse. First, this was back in the day when World Series games were still played during the day and wouldnít you know it, the sun was glaring right in Rudiís eyes as he looked for the ball. Yeah, he had his sunglasses on, but still, itís the sun. Second, based on the angle and where Rudi was, he had to catch it backhanded. Third, the ball wasnít just by the wall, it was headed for the top of the wall, so Rudi would have to jump to catch it.
Rudi fought the sun and made a backhanded catch while crashing into the wall in Cincinnatiís Riverfront Stadium. If he hadnít, a run would be in, and the tying runner would stand in scoring position.
Joe also caught the final out in the 1972 world series.
2. May 1st 1991, the Athletics are playing the Yankees in the Coliseum. Tim Leary's pitching for the Evil Empire with Rickey Henderson on second base. Rickey takes off and swipes the 939nth stolen base of his career to break Lou Brock's all time record. Later the same day Nolan Ryan threw his 7th no hitter of his career, breaking his own record.
3. September 4th 2002. The A's had won 19 consecutive games and had 11 -5 lead going into the top of the eighth. Jeff Tam and Chad Bradford combined to give up 5 runs in the inning to make the score 11-10; in the top of the ninth the original Cardiac Closer, Billy Koch blew the save by giving up one run to tie the game. Scott Hatteberg came to the plate with one out and launched a home run to win the game, setting a new AL record for consecutive wins.
4. October 6, 2006. Third game of the ALDS. Two for the price of one. First is the memory of Mark Kotsay hitting a fly ball to right centre, Torri Hunter makes a hopeless dive to catch the ball, it scoots past him and Kotsay flies round the bases with his shirt tail hanging out and flapping in his own jets stream as he scores on an inside the park home run. Second is Maco Scutaro coming to the plate, the crowd goes into it's Marco Scutaro (Left side chanting Mark, Right side Scutaro), Marco scorches a double down the right sideline to kill the game. A's sweep the Piranas but get swept in turn by the Tigers in the ALCS.
5. October 3rd, 2012. Grant Balfour enters the game for the fifth time in five days, and strikes out the Rangers yet again, clinching an unbelievable comeback by the A's to win the division. We had trailed the Rangers by as much as 13 games just prior to the All Star Break and hadn't lead the division outright until the final day of the season. Not to be forgotten is Brandon Moss's 3 run double which broke the game open in the 4th inning