1991 Oakland Athletics season

1991 Oakland Athletics
Major League affiliations
Record 84–78 (.519)
Other information
Owner(s) Walter A. Haas, Jr.
General manager(s) Sandy Alderson
Manager(s) Tony La Russa
Local television KPIX/KICU-TV
(Monte Moore, Ray Fosse)
Sports Channel Bay Area
(Bill Rigney, Greg Papa, Reggie Jackson)
Local radio KSFO
(Bill King, Lon Simmons, Ray Fosse, Sylvester Jackson)
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The Oakland Athletics' 1991 season was the team's 24th in Oakland, California. It was also the 91st season in franchise history. The team finished fourth in the American League West with a record of 84-78.

The 1991 season saw the Athletics' American League dominance come to an abrupt end. Between 1988 and 1990, the team had won three American League pennants and one World Series title; in the process, they won a combined 306 regular season games. In light of these accomplishments, the Athletics were initially favored to win yet another American League pennant.

A fourth consecutive World Series appearance, however, was not to be. In 1991, poor pitching (from both the starting rotation and the bullpen) served to take the Athletics out of contention. From 1988 to 1990, the Athletics had posted a team earned run average (ERA) of roughly 3.24 (easily the American League's best over that span); in 1991, however, they posted a sickly team ERA of 4.57 (the American League's second-worst). Of particular note were the struggles of ace Dave Stewart, whose 1991 ERA (5.18) was more than twice his 1990 ERA (2.56). 1990 Cy Young Award winner Bob Welch fared almost as poorly; his earned run average swelled from 2.95 (1990) to 4.58 (1991). In 1990, he had won a league-high 27 games; in 1991, he won a mere 12.

The Athletics' 1991 campaign, as such, is remembered mainly for the record-breaking exploits of Rickey Henderson. On May 1, he stole his 938th career base; in doing so, he succeeded Lou Brock as MLB's career stolen base leader. Henderson would end the 1991 season with 994 stolen bases.

Oakland would return to contention in 1992 with a record of 96-66. The 1991 season still, however, marked the end of the Athletics as a dynastic power. The 1992 team failed to dominate the league in the manner that the 1988–90 teams had; following that team's six-game ALCS defeat to the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland wouldn't reach the postseason until 2000.


Regular season

On May 15, 1991, President George H.W. Bush attended a baseball game in Baltimore with Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. The two saw the Oakland Athletics play the Baltimore Orioles for two innings.[10]

Opening Day starters

  • Harold Baines
  • José Canseco
  • Mike Gallego
  • Dave Henderson
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Mark McGwire
  • Ernest Riles
  • Terry Steinbach
  • Dave Stewart
  • Walt Weiss

Season standings

AL West W L Pct. GB Home Road
Minnesota Twins 9567 0.586 51–30 44–37
Chicago White Sox 8775 0.537 8 46–35 41–40
Texas Rangers 8577 0.525 10 46–35 39–42
Oakland Athletics 8478 0.519 11 47–34 37–44
Seattle Mariners 8379 0.512 12 45–36 38–43
Kansas City Royals 8280 0.506 13 40–41 42–39
California Angels 8181 0.500 14 40–41 41–40

Record vs. opponents

1991 American League Records

Baltimore 8–56–64–87–65–84–83–104–85–83–94–89–35–8
Boston 5–84–87–59–45–87–57–63–96–78–49–35–79–4
California 6–68–48–57–55–79–46–68–56–61–126–75–86–6
Chicago 8–45–75–86–64–87–67–58–58–47–67–68–57–5
Cleveland 6–74–95–76–67–64–85–82–106–75–72–104–81–12
Detroit 8–58–57–58–46–78–44–94–88–54–88–46–65–8
Kansas City 8–45–74–96–78–44–89–36–77–56–77–67–65–7
Milwaukee 10–36–76–65–78–59–43–96–66–78–43–97–56–7
Minnesota 8–49–35–85–810–28–47–66–610–28–59–46–74–8
New York 8–57–66–64–87–65–85–77–62–106–63–95–76–7
Oakland 9–34–812–16–77–58–47–64–85–86–66–74–96–6
Seattle 8–43–97–66–710–24–86–79–34–99–37–65–85–7
Texas 3–97–58–55–88–46–66–75–77–67–59–48–56–6
Toronto 8–54–96–65–712–18–57–57–68–47–66–67–56–6

Notable transactions

Draft Picks

  • June 3, 1991: Scott Sheldon was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 8th round of the 1991 amateur draft. Player signed June 5, 1991.[15]
  • June 3, 1991: Damon Mashore was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 9th round of the 1991 amateur draft. Player signed June 5, 1991.[16]
  • June 3, 1991: George Williams was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 24th round of the 1991 amateur draft. Player signed June 10, 1991.[17]


1991 Oakland Athletics
Pitchers Catchers



Other Batters



Rickey Henderson's stolen base record

On May 1, 1991, Henderson broke one of baseball's most famous records when he stole the 939th base of his career, one more than Lou Brock. However, Henderson's achievement was somewhat overshadowed because Nolan Ryan, at age 44, set a record that same night by throwing a no-hitter against Toronto, the seventh of his career. Two years earlier, Ryan had previously achieved glory at Henderson's expense by making him his 5,000th strikeout victim. Henderson took an odd delight in the occurrence, saying, "If you haven't been struck out by Nolan Ryan, you're nobody."[18]

Rickey's speech (at right) after breaking Lou Brock's all-time steals record sounds like the standard victory/award speech. Henderson thanked God and his mother, as well as the people that helped him in baseball. All that is remembered, however, is the "I am the greatest of all time" quote, which has been taken by many to support the notion that Henderson is selfish and arrogant.[19] Years later, Henderson revealed that he had gone over his planned remarks ahead of time with Brock, and the Cardinals Hall of Famer "had no problem with it. In fact, he helped me write what I was going to say that day."

Catfish Hunter's number retired

Catfish Hunter's number 27 was retired by the Oakland Athletics in 1991 [20].

Jim "Catfish" Hunter's number 27 was retired by the Athletics in a pre-game ceremony on June 9, the first in the franchise's 90 years.[20][21] Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1987, the right-handed starter won 161 regular season games in ten seasons for the A's, the first three in Kansas City and the last seven in Oakland. He won 20 or more games in each of his last four seasons in Oakland and was 40 with one save in seven World Series appearances. Hunter won the Cy Young Award in his final season in Oakland in 1974, as the A's won their third consecutive World Series. His record in the 1974 regular season was 2512 with 23 complete games; he led the league in wins and earned run average (2.49). Six years earlier in the first season in Oakland in 1968, Hunter threw the first perfect game in franchise history on May 8 at home (and also had three hits and three runs batted in).[22]

Player stats

= Indicates team leader


Starters by position

Note: G = Games played; AB = At Bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting Average; HR = Home Runs; RBI = Runs Batted In

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
CTerry Steinbach129456125.274667
1BMark McGwire15448397.2012275
2BMike Gallego159482119.2471249
3BErnest Riles10828160.214532
SSMike Bordick9023556.238021
LFRickey Henderson134470126.2681857
CFDave Henderson150572158.2762585
RFJosé Canseco154572152.26644122
DHHarold Baines141488144.2952090

Other batters

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Willie Wilson11329470.238028
Jamie Quirk7620353.261117
Vance Law7413428.20909
Brook Jacoby5618840.213020
Scott Brosius366816.23524
Brad Komminsk24253.12002
Fred Manrique9213.14300


Starting pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Dave Stewart3522611115.18144
Bob Welch3522012134.58101
Ron Darling1275374.0860

Other pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Relief pitchers

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Dennis Eckersley6754432.9687
Kevin Campbell141002.7416

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Tacoma Tigers Pacific Coast League Jeff Newman
AA Huntsville Stars Southern League Casey Parsons
A Modesto A's California League Ted Kubiak
A Madison Muskies Midwest League Gary Jones
A-Short Season Southern Oregon A's Northwest League Grady Fuson
Rookie AZL Athletics Arizona League Dick Scott



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