I started with the lowlights of the 2011 season, now I would like to take a look at the highlights of the season. It may have not felt like it at the time, but there was a lot of good that came out of Oakland last season and I have my personal favorite highlights:
8. Coco Crisp’s Hair: I will just let the pictures speak for itself:
7. Hideki Matsui: I know offensively he turned out to be pretty mediocre or even less than, but he did enough in Oakland to make my list. We didn’t get Matsui in his prime, but there is still something about being able to see someone of his caliber play for your team.
Not only did Matsui collect his 2,500th career hit as an Athletic, but he also hit his 500th career home run wearing green and gold. There was Matsuiland in the right field bleachers and Japanese Heritage Day in Oakland which brought Matsui fans all the way from Japan to see him and Ichiro play.
Sometimes players can do more for a team than just hit home runs and I believe Matsui did that for Oakland.
6. Guillermo Moscosco: Not a lot of people know who Moscosco is outside of A’s fans, but he quietly made himself one of the more reliable starting pitchers for the A’s in 2011.
Moscosco came up in May to replace an injured Tyson Ross, he started in 21 games and, although his record was only 8-10, he had a 3.38 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and 74 strikeouts. He doesn’t have excellent “stuff”, but he did more than was expected from him and has definitely made a case for himself as a starter in the rotation next season.
5. Jemile Weeks: I’ve discussed a few posts ago the impact Weeks had in Oakland, so I won’t get into too many details about him. There’s not much I can say that I haven’t said about Jemile, he’s great to the fans, he’s got the perfect attitude, he’s fun to watch and he’ll definitely be on the team in 2012.
4. “Moneyball”: Regardless how you feel about the theory, the “Moneyball” movie finally brought some much needed positive coverage of Oakland.
3. The Firing Of Bob Geren: That’s right our favorite skipper makes both lists! I know it’s a terrible thing to be happy about, but this was long overdue for A’s fans. Geren was fired in June, shortly after the Fuentes/Street debacle and replaced by Bob Melvin. Melvin lead the team to a 47-52 record for the remainder of the season and Beane rewarded him with a 3-year contract.
2. Brandon McCarthy: Not only is Brandon McCarthy really good at tweeting, it also turns out he’s pretty good at pitching too.
I don’t think many people expected much out of McCarthy this past season, with his history of injuries and his mediocre career numbers it wasn’t easy to get excited about the signing. Brandon proved all of us wrong; he started in 25 games and ended the season with a 9-9 record, a 3.32 ERA with 123 strike outs, a 1.3 BB/9 and a 4.92 SO/BB, not too bad for a 5th starter.
With Cahill and Gonzalez out of the picture don’t be shocked if he doesn’t get the nod to start on opening day in Tokyo.
1. Josh Willingham: It was hard to decided who would get the number one spot on this list for me, but Josh Willingham receives the honor this season. It’s been a long time (5 years to be exact) since A’s fans have had a player who could hit like Josh Willingham. Josh Willingham hit .246/.332/.477 along with 29 HR and 98 RBI. While power doesn’t mean everything in a player, it was a nice change from the usual Oakland hitter.
Honorable Mentions: 80′s Day at the park, sweep of the Giants at home, Brandon Allen’s monster home run to third deck at Yankee Stadium, playing day games, and breaking a 10-game losing streak in dramatic fashion.