If you’re an A’s fan mark your calendars for next Wednesday January 10th. The Oakland A’s announced they are giving away FREE tickets to their game on April 17th against the Chicago White Sox to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Coliseum. Yes that’s right FREE freaking baseball. Incredibly AWESOME right?
The A’s played their first game in the Coliseum in 1968 on the very same day. Before the A’s moved to Oakland they had been the Kansas City Athletics for the previous 12 seasons. I had to go look up their opening day roster for that ’68 season since I had yet to be born and I wanted to know who would have donned an A’s uniform for that inaugural game in Oakland. I was surprised to find they had four future Hall of Fame inductees on their roster. Those players were Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson along with one Manager, Tony La Russa who also played in the majors. The biggest surprise to me was finding out Joe Dimaggio (The Yankee Clipper) was the Oakland hitting coach from 1968 to 1970. Wikipedia claims DiMaggio was persuaded by A’s owner Charlie Finley because DiMaggio needed two more years in the league to qualify for the maximum pension allowed.
They finished sixth in the American League with an 82-80 record in their debut season in Oakland. As of today there are only three ballparks that have hosted baseball longer than the Coliseum who’s playing surface has been renamed as Rickey Henderson Field. Those ballparks are Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium.
I attended a game at the Coliseum in 2012 (see photo above) to watch them play the Yankees. I met some incredibly passionate baseball fans that day. I remember having a wonderful time with those around our seats and seeing a close game that day. I don’t remember the concession stands, food or bathrooms. I don’t remember seeing 32 specialty micro brew taps, a kiddie play area or anything remotely new. The place felt a little rough around the edges, a little hard but it was definitely a survivor one of the last of its kind.
The A’s will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary all season long with special events. If you want to see the A’s for FREE on April 17th be sure to log on to athletics.com/50 at 8am (PT) on January 10th.