Since the A’s were formed in 1901, there has been a bevy of spectacular individual seasons from the many legends to play during the club’s stints in Philadelphia, Kansas City and Oakland. With plenty of Hall of Famers to choose from, here’s a look at the top five individual seasons by a position player in A’s history:
1) Jimmie Foxx, 1932
Just five years after Babe Ruth had set a new single-season home run record with 60, Foxx made a serious run at dethroning The Bambino, and he thrilled Philadelphia fans with his scorching start. By the end of July, the first baseman had belted 41 home runs, putting him in a good position to surpass Ruth’s single-season record with ease. But by August, a wrist injury limited Foxx’s power and prevented him from making history.
Though Foxx fell short of the crown, his overall campaign was still something to marvel. Foxx smashed a league-leading 58 homers with 169 RBIs, and his .364 batting average was just three points shy of the batting title. In a year when he captured the first of his three American League MVP Awards, Foxx’s 1932 season goes down as the best in his 20-year Hall of Fame career.
2) Rickey Henderson, 1990
With a career as prestigious as the Man of Steal’s there are plenty of individual seasons to choose from here, but it’s tough to go against the year that earned him his first and only AL MVP Award. Back in Oakland for his second stint with his hometown team, Henderson went on a tear in 1990, leading the AL in stolen bases (65), runs (119) and on-base percentage (.439).
What really stood out from Henderson in this campaign was his power. In addition to a .325 batting average, Henderson tied a career-high with 28 home runs. The A’s captured their third straight AL pennant, and though they lost to the Reds in the World Series, Henderson performed well over those four games by going 5-for-15 with two doubles, a home run and three stolen bases.
3) Jason Giambi, 2001
Though Giambi captured the AL MVP Award in 2000, his narrow loss to Ichiro Suzuki in an effort to repeat the feat in ‘01 may have been even more impressive. While Giambi only hit 38 homers in ‘01, as opposed to his career-high 43 bombs in '00, the slugger led the league in on-base percentage (.477), slugging percentage (.660), OPS (1.137), walks (129) and doubles (47). His 8.7 offensive wins above replacement for that year remains the fourth highest for a single season in club history.
4) Reggie Jackson, 1969
There was a point in the ‘69 season where Jackson was on pace to break Roger Maris’ single-season home run record of 61, though a slump to end the year ended that bid. Still, a 23-year-old Jackson put together a fine campaign, slugging a career-high 47 homers while leading the AL in runs scored (123) and slugging percentage (.608). Jackson did go on to win the AL MVP Award with the A’s in '73, but his 8.5 offensive bWAR in ‘69 -- in which he finished fifth in MVP voting -- is tied for fifth highest in club history.
5) Eddie Collins, 1914
In an era where stolen base numbers were low, Collins was prolific at the skill. In addition to his great speed, Collins put together the complete package in 1914 to help lead the A’s to their fourth AL pennant in five years. The second baseman swiped 58 bags, scored a league-leading 122 runs and batted .344 with 85 RBIs to earn his first and only MVP Award, which at the time was known as the Chalmers Award.
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