Why are they called the Oakland Athletics? Or Oakland A’s?

One of the oldest nicknames in pro sports, the Athletics name goes back to the Philadelphia Athletic Club, which was a popular civic organization in the city dating back to the 19th century.

From 1901 through 1954, the Athletics played in Philadelphia. From 1955 through 1967, the team was in Kansas City. Since 1968, the franchise has represented Oakland.

The A’s have taken their nickname with them to Kansas City and Oakland. The elephant as their logo/mascot came about after Giants’ manager John McGraw called the A’s “white elephants” in 1902. Owner Connie Mack flipped the insult around and adopted the white elephant as part of the team persona. It survives today, which leaves a lot of fans wondering why a baseball team called the A’s has an elephant on their uniform.

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is the author of three books about baseball, including Ty Cobb: A Biography. He formerly worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Major League Baseball Advanced Media. He lives in Michigan where he writes, runs, and enjoys a good orange soda now and again.

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