Before There Was a Mount Davis

The Oakland-Alameida County Coliseum was a sunsplashed multi-purpose stadium that featured the American League's largest expanse of foul territory.

While its dimensions weren't that different from its architectural cousins "The Big A" and Shea, fly balls traveled well, yet pitchers considered it a fair place to work. A good balance of hurlers (Catfish Hunter, Ken Holtzman, Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers) and offensive stars (Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Joe Rudi) called the original version of the park home and thrived there. While Dick Williams won his first pennant with the "Impossible Dream" '67 Red Sox, Oakland -- where he won a division title in '71, followed the next two years by World Series titles -- was where he cemented his Hall of Fame credentials. Fortunately, my one and only visit came before the Raiders wandered back from Los Angeles -- forcing the conversion of the bleacher area and its distant patches of greenery into a jury-rigged park hardly anyone likes.


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