The story of Oakland Athletics starts in 1901 as Philadelphia Athletics and the stadium then had a capacity of only 9,500 seats. The capacity increased to 13,600 seats by 1905. This led to the opening of the Shibe Park or Connie Mack Stadium in the same city in 1909. The stadium was further developed to start night games in 1939 and capacity increased from 20,000 to 33,000 in the meantime. The name of the stadium was after a famous baseball manufacturer and this was the first concrete and steel stadium in major league. The name was changed as mentioned in 1953 after the famous player and the stadium existed till 1970. In the meantime, the team had decided to move from Philadelphia to Kansas City in November1954. This necessitated a new stadium for them and this was built on the site of the Blues stadium and that was the home of Kansas City Blues and the Negro Leagues Kansas City Monarchs. The existence of many teams at the same stadium led to the adding of a roofed second tier and the name being changed to Municipal Stadium. This led to their move to Network Associate Coliseum and that has been from 1968 and the capacity has been around 50,000. (Ballparks: 1901 - Present)
The history outlined above has shown some points about the Oakland Athletics and that is that it is a fairly old outfit and has moved from one city to another. It has also moved through different stadium till it found one suitable for its development. The present stadium is also able to hold the number of people attracted by the games of the group. Thus the strength in terms of attending people has already been looked at by the group and covered. It is also clear that the group is fairly old and thus the regular methods of earning have been covered by them already and we have to look at new opportunities. At the same time, the organization certainly has some strength which led it to becoming a candidate for take-over recently, in March 2005. The strength of the club is in terms of the number of players it has under contract, previous performance history, and changes in ownership to help it to develop. (Crosby Agrees to Terms on Five-Year Contract)
The club now has six payers who are under control of the club beyond this year's season, and this list does not include Scott Hatteburg, Keiichi Yabu and Barry Zito. They are under contract to the club only till the end of the 2006 season. The others under contract for a period of future years are Mark Kotsay, who is contracted till 2006; Jason Kendal who is under contract till 2007; Keith Ginter who is under contract till 2006, Rich Handen who is under contract till 2008 with the club having a further option till 2009; and Eric Chavez who is under contract till 2010 with the club having an option till 2011. The club recognizes the importance of having good players under contract, and in March this year they have signed up short stop Booby Crosby for a period of five years up to the end of 2009.
The value of this new player can be recognized from the fact that he was named as the American League Rookie of the year by the Baseball Writers Association of America as he has hit home runs of the extent of 22 numbers, RBI to the extent of 64 numbers, 70 runs, 130 hits, 34 doubles, 58 walks, 232 total bases and 57 extra base hits. He has thus become the 5th player from the club to achieve this feat after Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Walt Weiss and Ben Grieve. It is thus clear that the club has been a repository of talented players in baseball for a long time and this is certainly one of the strengths of the club. (Crosby Agrees to Terms on Five-Year Contract)
The new person who is taking over is not expected to be a hyper active individual and put a personal image out front and spend a lot of more money for the players. At the same time, the new owner cannot be as short-term and as conscious about costs as the present owners, or even the new owners of Dodgers, Frank McCourt. Of course those people have reason for what they are doing. It is also clear that Oakland Athletics will not be able to compete in terms of salary with the clubs in the larger markets, till they are able to get a new stadium, and that is well-known to the new owner. (Oakland Athletics)
At the present time, in the month of March, there has been a sale of the club to Mr. Lewis Wolff of Los Angeles, and this has been approved by Major League Baseball. The previous owners had been Mr. Steve Schott and Mr. Ken Hoffman. They had in turn been the owners of the club from 1st November, 1995. Under the new arrangement, Mr. Wolff will be the managing partner and Mr. Schott will be a minor owner. (Crosby Agrees to Terms on Five-Year Contract) Mr. Wolff has been with the club for some time as the vice president for venue development, and has paid about $180 million for the purchase of the team to the previous owners. This is known to be backed by John Fisher, the billionaire son of Gap chairman and CEO, Don Fisher, and is expected to be a major investor in the new arrangements. This makes it certain that the club will not be a low budget team for any great length of time. The management will be in the hands of Wolff. (A's plan on finalizing deal by Opening Day)
This can be seen to be the second strength of the club where there has been a regular change of ownership so that new and timely direction has been given to the club.
At the same time, the club has been very strong in the world of baseball, as they have won nine World Series championships and 15 American League pennants. The performance is only second to New York Yankees who have got 26 titles and that is more in number than this club. The championships won by this club has been all through its history, and even after the latest shift to Oakland, the club has won four titles. The present owners have taken over the club only from November 1, 1995. This is a period of less than ten years, and during this period, they have been the third best club in United States as per their performance in the American League. (Crosby Agrees to Terms on Five-Year Contract) This is not remarkable by club standards, as it was an even better club earlier, and it has certainly shown a decline, and a change in ownership is certainly expected to give it a better direction to push it even hard to the top. This can be considered a present weakness of the club, and certainly requires a change which is being provided by Mr. Wolff.
Now let us look at Mr. Wolff. He started off life at Roy Wenzlick & Company in real estate and was slowly making his was to the top. The firm was involved with publishing apart from real estate economics and appraisal. His experience of real estate is world wide as he has also looked over the activities of Twentieth Century Fox regarding these activities. His association with the club is however of comparative recent origin, starting only on November 13, 2003. (Crosby Agrees to Terms on Five-Year Contract) Mr. Wolff has met with ownership committee in the beginning of this year and has mentioned clearly that he wanted to build a stadium restricted to baseball only in Oakland, and that could possibly be built in parking lot of the Coliseum. Presently the stadium is shared by NFL Oakland Raiders, and that would require private money to be brought in. It has been shown in a few previous elections that the people of Oakland would not like to pay the costs of a new stadium from the city's funds. Wolff was also hired by the club in 2003 to get them a new stadium. (A's plan on finalizing deal by Opening Day)
Lewis Wolff's activities with the club were specifically for venue development, and this gives us a clear idea that the club has been thinking of changing its home at least from that time, if not earlier. This has been viewed as an opportunity and the concerned man has a lot of experience in this regard. One has to consider that he has experience in sports with St. Louis Blues and Golden State Warriors as minority owner. His educational qualifications are also in business administration at the Bachelors level from Wisconsin in Madison, and at the Masters level from Washington University in St. Louis.…