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A's '74 World Series team reunites, reflects on title run

A's '74 World Series team reunites, reflects on title run play video for A's '74 World Series team reunites, reflects on title run

OAKLAND -- Members of the A's 1974 World Series championship team came together at the Coliseum on Friday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their historic third straight title.

The '74 team defeated the Dodgers in five games to win the World Series. Along with the Yankees, they are one of just two Major League franchises ever to three-peat.

Before Friday night's game, the champions reflected on a year in which they solidified one of baseball's greatest dynasties.

"That was probably one of our better [teams]," said Rollie Fingers, who earned a win and two saves in the '74 World Series and was named series MVP. "We didn't score a whole lot of runs, so we had to do something different, and pitching was it."

In addition to Fingers, the pitching staff featured the late Catfish Hunter -- who won 25 games -- as well as 19-game winner Ken Holtzman and 17-game winner Vida Blue.

"The Dodgers thought they were the National League big powerhouse and everything, but good pitching always beats good hitting, and we showed that," Fingers said.

Even after winning two straight titles in '72 and '73, the Dodgers were favored to win in '74.

"To beat them in five games kind of was a stamp of approval for us, where we belong in history," said Sal Bando, the team captain who drove in 103 runs that season.

In addition to winning titles, the A's of the early '70s were known for fighting amongst themselves.

A scuffle between Billy North and Reggie Jackson in June of '74 resulted in a shoulder injury for Jackson and a neck injury for catcher Ray Fosse, who was trying to break it up.

"We were fighting in the clubhouse, we were fighting on the planes, on the buses," Fingers said. "Meanwhile, on the field, we were still kicking [butt]."

"I've played on teams that got along well and didn't win, and I've played on teams that didn't get along and won," Bando said. "It comes down to talent, and it comes down to producing."

The 1974 team, which won 90 regular season games and posted a 2.95 team ERA, had the rare combination of talent and grit necessary to three-peat.

"These guys were so hungry to do it, and they made such a sacrifice to do it," said Gene Tenace, who hit 26 home runs as the first baseman in '74.

Current manager Bob Melvin, who grew up in the Bay Area and wears No. 6 in honor of Bando, sees a close connection between those A's and his current squad.

"[Those] teams kind of laid the foundation for what we have now," Melvin said. "A lot of the things that those teams embodied and were about, we try to embrace still, whether it's the individuality, the long hair, the mustaches, the white shoes.

"All this is part of our past as a team and an organization, so it's important that we do reflect and bring these guys out."

Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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