Watch out Josh Reddick! Joe Rudi was the original Spiderman.

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1969 Topps

I was elated to receive this personalized autograph in the mail on this fine, sunny day in October; and since the once- promising now rotten-in-retrospect season is over for the Oakland ball-club, I thought that this would be a perfect time for a short look back at Joe Rudi’s career.

Joe Rudi was the left fielder for the A’s World Series champions from ’72-’74, and most popularly noted for his amazing Spiderman–like catch in game 2 of the ’72 series versus the Cincinnati Reds that explicitly saved the game for his team. Rudi spent 16 years in the big leagues, hitting .264 with 1,468 hits, 179 home runs and 810 RBI. He was an All-Star three times and thrice a Gold Glover, he also twice finished second in MVP voting. (losing to Dick Allen and Jeff Burroughs respectively.) Rudi had quite a bit of postseason experience, and though he wasn’t stellar overall–his career batting average in the playoffs was .257–he did have some moments of brilliance. In the 1973 World Series, for example, he hit .333 with nine hits, two doubles, three walks, three runs scored and four RBI. In the next year’s World Series, he hit .333 with six hits, one home run and four RBI. Joe will always be remembered as a fine player on a great team, and a way above average defender who waved a solid stick.

9 Comments

Fun! I remember these teams, this series and this catch as a boy. Love the swagger and talent of both the A’s and Big Red Machine.

Part of the most overlooked great team ever, the ’72-’74 A’s.
v

Joe Rudi made it into our family language as a code for unsung hero because we read about him in a book called “Unsung heroes of baseball.” The older brother turned it into a sarcastic mock whenever we complained to mom about not getting enough attention but anyway, I’m freaking elated for you Gary that he singed the card. I guess Reggie remains elusive from that set? I vaguely remember writing a post about Joe Rudi and him working at a radio station or having a ham radio station or being involved in ham radio or maybe you wrote a post about it?

I have no illusions about finishing the set…probably never get Reggie or Rick freakin’ Monday. I’m also missing Hank Bauer,Paul Lindblad and Catfish Hunter but they are no longer with us. There is also a player named Ramon Webster who had somewhat of a short career, yet no one knows his whereabouts. Probably just an old man living in Panama (his home country) drinking a beer and watching a donkey swat flies with its tail.
Yeah, Joe Rudi is a ham radio enthusiast. It’s an interesting hobby that is going the way of the dodo.

oops, i forgot about those players no longer here. I guess Rudi writes “to Gary” on there so you won’t sell it? or do most players do that? Do you prefer it that way or would you rather have just their name?

I remember getting Mike Dunne’s autograph in Bradenton Florida. He was a pitcher for the Pirates and was coming off a good rookie season and he insisted on getting my name so he could write it on the card. He was kind of a prick about it too. I was thinking to myself, damn…one good year and the guy thinks he’s Cy Young, but whatever. I guess being a ballplayer requires boat loads of confidence or maybe he was just super arrogant.

I prefer them to make it out to me because I’m not one of those lowlife collectors with dollar signs in their eyes. It’s just a fun hobby, nothing more.
After looking at Mike Dunn’s stats it’s clear that him acting like a dick-head to you gave him bad karma and his career went into the toilet after that. 🙂

Joe Rudi was one of the most under-rated players in baseball.

Glen

I’ll never figure out what’s so exciting about a person’s autograph. Even when I was a kid, I couldn’t figure it out.

I had autographs of Julius Erving, Yogi Berra, Bobby Cox, George Plimpton, and many others, and I lost them all. I just never thought it was that big a deal.

I think it was Mike Marshall, the intellectual relief pitcher, who used to say that kids should get autographs from their teachers instead of from baseball players.

Glen

what’s a big deal!? it’s merely a tchotchke, or a conversation piece. Evidently it has already achieved its purpose.

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