Barry Zito Making Possible Final Career Start for the A’s


Barry Zito, recently called up from Triple-A Nashville, is quite possibly making his final career start this Saturday against his former team and crosstown rivals, the San Francisco Giants.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin made the announcement today, and it comes with an exciting twist:

Zito had spent practically the entire season in Nashville and made his first appearance for the A’s on September 20th. He pitched the final inning in a 5-1 loss to the Houston Astros, giving up a two-run home run to Colby Rasmus.

The news of Zito being promoted to the big club came as a bit of a surprise. Just a couple weeks ago, General Manager Billy Beane had reiterated that Zito would not be called up for a possible showdown with Hudson, who will be making his final career start as well.

Beane had explained that Zito’s best shot at being called up coincided with his stint on the disabled list because of a bout with tendinitis. At the time, Sonny Gray, Kendall Graveman and Chris Bassitt were all battling injuries, which would have been an opportune time to bring up the A’s one time ace for nostalgia’s sake.

"“It’s not just a clean transaction where you call up a guy,” said Beane. “You’ve got the 40, so you lose a player. So all those things are taken into consideration.”"

For Athletics Nation, it seemed like an opportunity would be missed to see two A’s greats have their careers come full circle together in the same game. Now we see that Beane may have been in on a a bit of a ruse to keep things hush-hush until the moment was right.

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As one of the members of the A’s vaunted Big Three, Zito was always a fan favorite. He’s always had a bit of an eclectic personality, but was always friendly with the media and fans. Before Clayton Kershaw‘s curveball, there was Zito’s patented 12-6 curve that buckled the knees of many hitters. Zito was always worth the price of admission on the days that he pitched.

The 2002 Cy Young Award winner outdueled Pedro Martinez during his own magical season, finishing with a 23-5 record and 2.75 ERA. That season he also reached a career high WAR of 6.9. Before Zito’s exit in 2007, he had won the club 102 games in roughly six and half seasons.

Although Zito’s greatest days were gone even before he left the A’s, he undoubtedly left his mark on both teams. He will be forever known for having massively underperformed to his seven year, $126 million contract with the Giants, but redeemed himself during the 2012 playoffs.

Who could forget his Game one performance in the 2012 World Series? He outdueled Cy Young runner up Justin Verlander and even chipped on on offense with an RBI single. Zito finished his 2012 postseason with a 3-0 record and 1.69 ERA, and most importantly, his first World Series title.

It will be an unforgettable weekend for A’s fans everywhere. Not only will we be able to witness a Zito-Hudson final career start matchup, but on Sunday we will also get to see all three members of the Big Three. Mark Mulder will be joining Zito and Hudson in a pregame ceremony celebrating their contributions to the team. All three will get to throw out the ceremonial first pitches, which will be a memorable sight to see for A’s fans.

Whether Zito tosses a gem or gets shelled, A’s fans can confidently look back on his time with the A’s as being wildly successful. He is certainly deserving of a long standing ovation and a tip of the cap by the crowd when he leaves the field for the final time at the Coliseum.

Next: Former Oakland Athletics Making Huge Contributions