Eric Chavez retires, the A’s are really, really bad, and the summer is ending on a horrible note.

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battered, stained and sad.

The A’s have continued their frustrating nose dive into oblivion, now only percentage points in front of the Mariners, and a half game above the Tigers. The slump is somehow baffling and understandable at the same time, and if the ball-club fails to make the post season it would be seen as the biggest collapse of the Wild Card Era. (and one of the biggest in baseball history in my opinion.) No team with the best record at the All Star break (again, in the Wild Card Era) has failed to make the playoffs. The season is rapidly coming to an end, and what was in the beginning that elicited pure joy now only brings feelings of deflation. Deflated enough to talk about a t-shirt….

I’ve owned this Eric Chavez t-shirt for many years now, almost too many to remember. It is faded, the letters/numbers are cracked, and I usually only wear it to bed or if I’m doing yard work. I cut the sleeves off of it a couple of years ago because I needed a sleeveless shirt for the unbearably hot summers. It’s comfortable and broken in just the way I like it. My girlfriend wants me to throw it away, but I refuse. That would be like tossing away a friend, and we have too many stories and experiences mutually shared.

Eric Chavez, who retired on July 30th, was the greatest 3rd baseman in Oakland A’s history. (Sorry, Sal Bando!) “Chavy” won the Gold Glove 6 times in a row, is 4th on the on the Oakland all time home run list with 230, (Bando is 6th with 192.) and is universally seen as one of the most beloved players that ever put on an Athletics uniform. It’s frustrating paying homage to a player in such dire times, yet Chavy’s legacy will live on– if only in the life of a battered t-shirt that covers a broken heart.

4 Comments

That’s strange. I wonder why my old “gravatar”, the one with me as a second grader, went on went I clicked the “like” button for your article instead of my usual one, the one of one of the greatest and most unappreciated country singers of all time, Webb Pierce, which I’ve been using for almost two year.

As far as Chavez being better than Sal Bando, I don’t know about that. One thing that doesn’t come over in numbers is leadership, and I saw Bando play for the A’s in the 70s, and he had great leadership abilities. I don’t know about Chavez; he might have had leadership abilities for the A’s, as well, but all I know is that Bando had ’em. And leadership is one of those intangibles that can’t be shown in box scores or in statistics or home run tallies.

Another example of this kind of thing was Tim Flannery of the Tigers. I read numerous articles during the 1984 world series about Flannery’s fiery leadership. He wasn’t a great player, in particular, but he had those leadership abilities that are so rare and so important on a team.

I would also say the same thing about Keith Hernandez while he was on the Mets. Why “Mex” isn’t in the Hall of Fame is beyond my comprehension.

Glen

I can’t say I agree or disagree either way, but I’ve got to go with the guy that I’ve seen play more. This is definitely one of the more hotly contested debates for Athletics fans. Bando won 3 World Series titles and went to 4 All Star games whereas Chavez was better defensively and had more power. Unfortunately he was one of those guys stricken with the injury bug. Chavez (strangely enough) may be the best player over the past quarter century never to make the All-Star team. What a strange, wacky sport. I love it.

If you really think about it, the A’s (Philly, KC, and Oakland) have had an extraordinary number of quality 3rd basemen over the years. Home Run Baker and Jimmy Dykes, George Kell and Sal Bando. Chavez and Carney Lansford were all better than average at 3rd. Few teams (like my Dodgers for instance) can say they’ve had that many at 3rd.
Adios, Chavez.
v

You’re absolutely right, and Josh Donaldson continues that trend.

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