Friday, January 22, 2010
A's of the Decade: Left Field – Nick Swisher
Years: 2004 – 2007
Other Candidates: Ben Grieve (2000); Terrence Long (2000-2003); David Justice (2002); Eric Byrnes (2000-2005); Bobby Kielty (2004-2007); Shannon Stewart (2007); Jack Cust (2007-present); Matt Holliday (2009)
Summary: This position has been quite the revolving door since Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson's departure in 1995 (hell, Rickey even revolved back through for one season just three years later). Swisher only spent one year as the A's primary leftfielder, but it just so happened to be the best year (2006) of his Oakland career (35 HR, 95 RBI, .864 OPS). He averaged 26 HR per year during his three full seasons with the A's and was arguably the last real personality the team's had in the clubhouse since he was traded to the White Sox after the 2007 season. His unkempt bumpkin schtick personally annoyed me to no end, but to each his own.
Favorite A's Moment: On June 11, 2006, off the immortal Shawn Chacon, Swisher legged out an inside-the-park home run in old Yankee Stadium contributing to a 6-5 win. There are few things more unintentionally enjoyable than watching these world-class athletes sucking wind in the dugout like any other beer-league weekend warrior after running 360 feet.
Runner-Up: Jack Cust
Worst of the Decade: Terrence Long