It was an occasion celebrated in grand fashion, as the Oakland A’s welcomed more than 46,000 fans to their 50th anniversary game on Tuesday.
The 2018 season marks the 50th anniversary of the A’s in Oakland. On April 17, 1968, the A’s played their first game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum— losing 5-1 to the Baltimore Orioles–and kicked off their run in Oakland after relocating from Kansas City.
To celebrate the anniversary of that occasion, the A’s distributed free tickets for fans to attend Tuesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. It was anticipated that the offer would prompt a big response from Oakland fans, and that was the case with a reported crowd of 46,028 on hand. The game was also marked by the enthusiasm of the A’s fan base, as reported by Bruce Jenkins of The San Francisco Chronicle:
Score it a success for A’s management. It doesn’t really lead anywhere, but in the wake of this season’s early games — already with three crowds under 8,000 — it looked awfully good.
What struck me, more than anything, was the crowd’s joyous spirit. There wasn’t a hint of trouble outside the stadium, where fans launched their tailgate parties hours before the gates opened. Season-ticket holders were allowed to enter at 3:30, with the general-admission folks held back until 4:30, and although the lines were impossibly long — such a strange sight for Coliseum baseball — the mood was extremely calm and mellow.
All evening, I tried to find fans who were seeing this team for the first time — this season or ever. Surely they existed, but nearly all of the folks I interviewed painted themselves as longtime A’s fans who attend with some regularity — and they had the green-and-gold garb to prove it.
“I wish they still had those $2 admission days,” said John from San Leandro. “And it’s always nice when the parking is free (as opposed to $30 on all days but Tuesdays). But this is a pretty fun night.”
Tuesday’s game was also a success on the field for the A’s, as they defeated the White Sox by a final of 10-2. As a way of emphasizing the 50th anniversary celebration, both teams wore replica 1968 jerseys.