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A’s 2002 20-game win streak team reunites

OAKLAND — Everybody in Oakland remembers the iconic image of Scott Hatteberg pumping his fist as the “20” banner unfurled from the Coliseum bleachers following the first baseman’s dramatic walk-off homer that extended the 2002 A’s American League-record winning streak to 20 games. Heck, they even made a movie about it.

As part of the ongoing celebrations for their 50th season in Oakland, the A’s honored that 2002 team and their historic streak with a pregame ceremony before Saturday’s game against the Astros, with Hatteberg, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Billy Koch and a host of others from that memorable team in attendance.


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OAKLAND — Everybody in Oakland remembers the iconic image of Scott Hatteberg pumping his fist as the “20” banner unfurled from the Coliseum bleachers following the first baseman’s dramatic walk-off homer that extended the 2002 A’s American League-record winning streak to 20 games. Heck, they even made a movie about it.

As part of the ongoing celebrations for their 50th season in Oakland, the A’s honored that 2002 team and their historic streak with a pregame ceremony before Saturday’s game against the Astros, with Hatteberg, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Billy Koch and a host of others from that memorable team in attendance.


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The players had a chance to socialize on the field for approximately an hour before they were introduced, one by one, to warm ovations from the Saturday afternoon Oakland crowd.

“To go through what we did, all of the success, the relationships, and then 16 years later, you get to meet again, it’s weird,” Hatteberg said. “It’s such a great reunion. You think things have changed, but they haven’t. We just flow back right into the same locker room chemistry, and it’s been a blast hanging out with everybody. We haven’t missed a beat, it seems.”

Video: [email protected]: Walk-off homer gives A’s 20th straight win

As part of the ceremony, the A’s also recognized the wife and son of the late Cory Lidle and made a $5,000 donation to the Cory Lidle Foundation.

It’s pretty fitting that the return of the 2002 team, known as a group of talented, industrious young players that energized the clubhouse and shocked the world by winning 103 games and making a run to the American League Championship Series, comes with the 2018 A’s in the midst of their own surprising surge.

Much like that ’02 club, this season’s A’s are firmly anchored by a young core — Sean Manaea, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Stephen Piscotty among them — and the old-timers see parallels not only in the talent, but in the clubhouse energy and chemistry.

“It’s a very similar group,” said Hudson, who was 15-9 with a 2.98 ERA in his age-26 season for the ’02 team. “A lot of young guys, you have some good leadership, and they’re young, but just like us, us being young wasn’t going to be an excuse for why we failed or succeeded. We were good because we were good. I think these guys are good because they’re good.”

“It’s such a great chemistry with this club, and there’s that hunger and the youth part of it,” Hatteberg said. “It’s a team built that should win for a while.”

Tweet from @Athletics: We love family reunions. 💚💛#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/u5E69XmxMR

Piscotty grew up an Oakland fan and remembers being at the 19th game of the winning streak before watching the 20th game and Hatteberg’s blast with his family at home. The success that enveloped the East Bay further solidified the 11-year-old Piscotty’s already fervent fandom.

“It made me more proud to be an A’s fan, and the A’s, I think, oftentimes, get overlooked because we’re a bit of a smaller market,” Piscotty said. “It’s times like that when people stop and are like, ‘Wow, the A’s are pretty dang good.’ Those are the emotions I remember thinking at that time.”

The 2018 A’s are certainly evoking those emotions again with this recent run of their own. But the 2002 team will always hold its special place in the club’s history.

“I played for a few teams in the Major Leagues, but nowhere I felt more home than here. To have this team and be a part of it, it would have been good to go on in the playoffs and win the World Series, but we didn’t get there,” Hatteberg said. “To make a mark in history like we did was so thrilling. To have such great guys to do it with and to have a team-type piece of history was really cool. We couldn’t be more thankful.”

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.



Source : MLB

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