Sep 5, 2013, 6:10 PM PST
On this week in 2002, the Oakland Athletics did something crazy, just plain crazy. The date was Sept. 4, 2002, and the A’s jumped out to an early 11-0 lead over the Kansas City Royals through three innings. The Oakland Coliseum was filled to capacity as the Bay Area was eager to witness history (keep in mind this was the pre-tarp era).
The A’s had already won 19 consecutive games and they were looking to set an American League record against the hapless Kansas City Royals.
Somehow, the Royals managed to make it interesting. They roared back to tie the game 11-11. With one out in the 9th inning, Scott Hatteberg stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter and delivered the biggest hit of his career; A walk-off home run that would soon be featured on A’s bottle openers, a best-selling book, and a major hollywood motion picture.
As the ball sailed over the fence Hatteberg raised his arm in victory. A large banner with the no. 20 was unfurled in the outfield stands. One of the most special aspects of the A’s 20-game win streak was the dramatic fashion in which they won the games. A’s shortstop and 2002 AL MVP Miguel Tejada also helped win the 18th and 19th games of the streak with walk-off hits.
History remembers the offense over the span of the 20-game win streak, largely because of how it was portrayed in Moneyball, but the A’s pitchers held opponents to a 2.21 batting average and had an ERA of 2.55.
8/13 vs. Tor 5-4
8/14 vs. Tor 4-2
8/16 CHW 1-0
8/17 vs. CHW 9-2
8/18 vs. CHW 7-4
8/19 @ CLE 8-1
8/20 @ CLE 6-3
8/21 @ CLE 6-0
8/22 @ CLE 9-3
8/23 @ DET 9-1
9/24 @ DET 12-3
8/25 @ DET 10-7
8/26 @ KC 6-3
8/27 @ KC 6-4
8/28 @ KC 7-1
8/30 vs. MIN 4-2
8/31 vs. MIN 6-3
9/1 vs. MIN 7-5
9/2 vs. KC 7-6
9/4 vs. KC 12-11
There’s an excellent video on Youtube of the clubhouse celebration after Hatteberg’s walk-off homer.
Bill King’s famous call of the home run still brings chills to the A’s fanbase.
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