In 1900, American League president Ban Johnson convinced Connie Mack to manage the newly created Philadelphia Athletics, which had been strategically placed in the same market as the National League Phillies, making the City of Brotherly Love a two-team town. The Athletics thus began their 54-year history by attempting to split the city's fan base, perhaps the first indication of the team's tendency toward polarity and vicissitude. As Ed Fitzgerald put it, "Like the little girl with the curl on her forehead, when the Athletics were good, they were very very good. But when they were bad, horrid was hardly the word." The A's won nine pennants and five World Series, yet finished last 16 times; they raided the Phillies roster in 1901, and later stripped themselves in baseball's first great fire sale; they boasted the illustrious "$100,000 Infield," yet Mack had to sell star players one after another to pull the A's through the Depression.
This book, written by a long-time fan of the defunct team, relates the Athletics to the city of Philadelphia and tells the stories of the organization's signature seasons, from the championship years to the days when the A's were synonymous with baseball's cellar. The book also details the exploits of such Hall of Famers as Chief Bender, Eddie Collins, Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx, and Al Simmons, and considers the unique achievements and personality of Connie Mack, baseball's "Tall Tactician."