'Legends: Oakland A's Dynasty' debuts Friday

October 25, 2012, 9:01 pm
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OAKLAND -- They were known as the "Swingin' A's," yet they often took swings at each other. They were rebellious, at times crazy, dangerous in the clubhouse and on the field. Yet, there are many misconceptions about the A's of the 1970s and on Friday at 8 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California you will get to learn the truth about one of the best baseball teams ever assembled, the 1971-1975 Oakland A's, in 'Legends: Oakland A's, The Forgotten Dynasty.'
Some may question the title of this documentary. "Forgotten Dynasty?" Well, many of the A's players involved in making the show certainly didn't. They feel they never got the respect they deserved. Only one other franchise in the history of Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees, have won three World Series trophies in a row. Yet, you rarely hear the A's mentioned amongst the best teams ever. Maybe not enough people actually witnessed what they did. Only twice in that era (1973, 1975) did the A's draw more than one million fans. Only 921,323 people came to see the A's of 1972 play. The combined attendance from 1972-74 didn't even equal the 2.9 million that came to see the A's of 1990. The A's of the 70s didn't hate each other. They may have thrown fists a lot, but they actually did it out of love. The key members of the A's dynasty played in an era that pre-dated salary arbitration and free agency. The core of the team came up together from the minor leagues. They were so close that they more closely resembled a family. And brothers will bicker. As a result they knew how to push each others buttons, and they knew that if they fought one another, that they'd fight their opponents twice as hard. In this documentary you'll get to hear why Gene Tenace says he would show up early every day just to get a front seat to whatever madness was going to go down in the clubhouse and John "Blue Moon" Odom explain why he was the primary instigator on the team. You'll also find out what led to Hall of Fame pitcher Rollie Fingers and lefty starter Ken Holtzman throwing baseballs at the A's eclectic owner Charlie O. Finley. This show is packed with never before seen or heard interviews from all the major players on and around the A's. When the concept of this show came together, I jumped at the chance to be a part of helping Emmy award-winning producer Sean Maddison put together the documentary. As an East Bay native born in the early 80s, I had always heard about the A's championship years of the 70s, but never got to experience them. As we dug into the history of the team we learned that beneath the tough exterior was a fundamentally sound baseball team led by Dick Williams. You hear a lot about Reggie Jackson, Sal Bando, Joe Rudi -- all of whom you will hear from in the show -- but this team really should be remembered for the pitching and defense.As I began my research process, and talked to the guys on the team, I was granted the special and unique experience of following the stories of one of the greatest teams ever to take a field with unprecedented access. What I was able to learn and discover was extremely rewarding. Whether you are a youngster like myself, or a person lucky enough to have watched this colorful and offbeat team, our goal was to deliver the A's dynasty as never seen before. It was an honor to work with producer Sean Maddison and the crew on this show. What he is about to deliver on the TV screen is a richly rewarding experience for any A's fan. The Oakland Athletics didn't pull any punches on the field, and they certainly didn't in this documentary. It's amazing the things that guys are willing to talk about 40 years after the fact. It's safe to say many of the behind the scenes stories you will hear were kept secret up until now.