1992 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 1992 season was the team's 25th in Oakland, California. It was also the 92nd season in franchise history. The team finished first in the American League West with a record of 96-66. The Athletics entered the 1992 season with high hopes. The team, in particular, hoped to see its pitching staff rebound from a dreadful 1991 performance; the Athletics' team earned run average (ERA) had ballooned from 3.18 in 1990 (1st of 14 AL teams) to 4.57 in 1991 (13th of 14 AL teams). The Athletics also hoped to continue their success on offense; in 1991, the team had scored a respectable 760 runs (the fifth-highest total in the AL). The offense, as always, was centered on superstars Mark McGwire, José Canseco, and Rickey Henderson. The Athletics' hopes were largely answered. The team's pitching staff finished the season with an ERA of 3.73; this was the fourth-best average in the American League. Starter Dave Stewart, after an abysmal 1991 campaign, lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.66; his resurgence was mirrored by Bob Welch, who returned to near-ace status with a 3.27 ERA. The offense performed similarly well. Mark McGwire, following an awful 1991 campaign (in which he batted just .206 with 22 home runs), posted a .268 average in 1992 (while knocking in 42 homers). Rickey Henderson stole 48 bases, Mike Bordick hit exactly .300, and José Canseco slugged another 22 home runs. Canseco was famously traded to the Texas Rangers, mid-game, on August 31; the Athletics received outfielder Rubén Sierra, reliever Jeff Russell, and starter Bobby Witt. The Athletics again scored the fourth-most runs in the American League in 1992. The bulk of the Athletics' 1992 accolades, however, went to closer Dennis Eckersley. Eckersley saved an MLB-leading 51 games over the course of the season; in the process, he posted a 7-1 record with a 1.91 ERA. Eckersley's efforts netted him both the 1992 AL Cy Young Award and the 1992 AL MVP Award. Eckersley remains the last reliever (and remained, until 2011, the last pitcher of any kind) to be named MVP in either league. The Athletics finished the 1992 season six games ahead of the second place (defending champion) Minnesota Twins. The division championship was their fourth in five years. In the ALCS, the A's faced a strong Toronto Blue Jays side. The first three games of the series were decided by two runs or fewer; at the end of the Game 3, Oakland trailed Toronto 2 games to 1. In Game 4, Oakland led the Jays 6-1 after seven innings; a furious Toronto rally, however, resulted in a 7-6 Toronto victory (and a 3-1 Blue Jays series lead). The Athletics never recovered from the collapse, and ultimately succumbed to the favored Jays in six games. The 1992 season signaled the end of an era in Oakland. The team would miss the postseason in each of the next seven seasons; by the time of the Athletics' next division title (2000), no members of the 1992 team remained in Oakland.


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