During a spring training game on April 7, 1925, A’s first baseman Joe Hauser shattered his kneecap, an injury that would cause him to miss the entire season. After batting .323 and blasting 27 homers, second only to Babe Ruth’s total (46) during the 1924 season, Hauser would only remain in the majors a few more years, until 1929, eventually returning to the minor leagues. Back in the minors, Hauser became a prodigious home run hitter before a batted ball broke a kneecap again in 1934.
During World War II, Philadelphia Athletics catcher Harry O’Neill was killed by a sniper at Iwo Jima on March 6, 1945. O’Neill had only appeared in one game for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1939. O’Neill and Elmer Gedeon were the only two Major League Baseball players killed during World War II.
On January 21, 1953, Cardinals pitcher Dizzy Dean and A’s outfielder Al Simmons were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Notably, Joe DiMaggio, who was in his first year of eligibility, was not elected and would instead have to wait until 1955, his third year on the ballot.
Philadelphia Athletics pitcher George Earnshaw defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-1, on October 8, 1930 to secure a World Series victory for Philadelphia. Throughout the Series, Earnshaw collected two wins and a 0.72 ERA, and also pitched seven scoreless innings as Game 5 starter, but ended up with a no-decision as Lefty Grove relieved him in the eighth and took the win on Jimmie Foxx’s two-run homer. A’s manager Connie Mack gave more credit to Earnshaw for the Athletics’ World Series victory over the Cardinals than any other player.
Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson defeated the Philadelphia Athletics, 1-0, on September 29, 1913 to record his final decision of the season. Johnson would appear in only one more game in 1913 and finished the season with an impressive 36-7 record and a mind-boggling 346.1 innings pitched. Over the course of the season, Johnson also notched two saves, 243 strikeouts, and only gave up 9 home runs and 40 walks. He concluded 1913 with an ERA of 1.14.
After winning a record-tying (at that time) 16 consecutive games on the mound, Lynwood Thomas “Schoolboy” Rowe finally lost to the Athletics, 13-5, at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park on August 29, 1934. The Tigers’ right-hander’s mark tied the American League record for consecutive wins shared by Smoky Joe Wood, Walter Johnson, and Lefty Grove.
On August 4, 1909 (some sources list the date as August 3rd), umpire Tim Hurst instigated a riot by spitting at Athletics second baseman Eddie Collins, who had questioned a call. Hurst would have to be escorted off the field with a police guard. This incident eventually resulted in Hurst’s banishment from baseball two weeks later.
On June 5, 1920, in the midst of an explosion in the number of home runs being hit around the league, Philadelphia Athletics vice president Tom Shibe insisted that baseballs were not “livelier” that season and that the increase in round trippers could be attributed to the elimination of the spitball. Shibe also happened to be part owner of the Reach Baseball Company, which manufactured the league’s game balls. The only changes, Shibe would insist, consisted only of “improvements in the method of manufacture.”
Later, others would state that while Shibe may have truly believed his stance, it was those basic improvements to the baseball that likely had the unintended side effect of making it more elastic. In 1936, Jim Nasium would state, “The funny thing about it was that Tom Shibe, working only to improve the quality of the ball and make it more durable, never realized the effect that this would have on the playing of the game.”
Going into the ninth inning against the White Sox on May 23, 1901, the Athletics were trailing 11-7, but managed to load the bases with nobody out. White Sox player-manager Clark Griffith put himself into the game and intentionally walked cleanup hitter Napoleon Lajoie, forcing in a run and cutting the lead to three. The strategy proved successful when he induced the next three batters to ground out, thereby completing the 11-9 victory at Chicago’s South Side Park.
On October 28, 1954, major league owners voted against the sale of the Philadelphia Athletics to a hometown syndicate. A week later, the Mack family would sell controlling interest for the team to Arnold Johnson, who would then move the A’s to Kansas City.