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Remembering Sal Bando

January 25, 2023

I will likely always say the Cincinnati Reds, certainly of 1975 and 1976 vintage were the best baseball team at least since if not beyond the 1961 New York Yankees, the latter just before my time. Yet one must more than consider the quantifiable Oakland Athletics (3 straight titles 1972-1974), who sadly lost their captain and classy, great player Sal Bando last week.

Mr. Bando with his smart play, leadership amidst what was often derision among the A’s players off the field and not cited by others in his obituaries–great clutch play/hitting/drawing walks–epitomized the A’s, who while not with the great,great that was the Reds and perhaps other teams, won more titles, doing so winning tense, so often one run games.

I cite 4 great instances for Sal, in one run Oakland wins, all in title seasons, the first below in #7/’72 World Series against a not quite “there” Reds’ team (of the A’s establishing a “there” in Oakland and Mr. Bando, as relayed by Curt Gowdy during #1/’74 World Series advised where to eat “there”) and the other three in the ’74 ALCS vs the Baltimore Orioles.

Clearly Fury “Gene” Tenace was the star as the A’s franchise which left Philadelphia for Kansas City before landing in Oakland won its first crown in 41 years, the last being a 5th in Philly (5’s abound and Sal might ? this in his tribute, but do so with great admiration for Sal, his etic, his class and his teams, as the football Eagles hope for a “5th”, 5 years later in this year in which the Astros titled 5 years later and if it manifests, it will be the first time the baseball and football champions each won it all 5 years apart).

Tenace whose sister is named Sandi (Sal’s wife is also a “Sandi”), doubled home another superb contributor to the 3 A’s title teams, Bert Campaneris, to put the Athletics ahead to stay in #7/’72 World Series. Bando followed with another double, which scored pinch runner, Allan Lewis and “Oak” needed that as they held on, winning (3-2).

Among, likely other big offensive plays, in addition to his defensive and leadership acumen, Bando homered off the great Jim Palmer, who cited such when Sal died, for the only run in a (1-0) Oakland win in #3 of the ’74 ALCS. Vida Blue pitched a 2 hit complete game shutout in that game.

Additionally, Sal scored both runs, each, after drawing a walk in a (2-1) A’s pennant clincher the next day in game 4.

 

Sal Bando by Gage Skidmore.jpg

Sal Bando, pictured above.

 

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