The Athletics moved away from Philadelphia at the conclusion of the 1954 season.
This weekend, they’ll return for the first time in nearly 49 years when they meet the Phillies in an interleague series at Veterans Stadium.
Originally owned and managed by Hall of Famer Connie Mack, the A’s spent the first 53 years of their existence in North Philadelphia. After years of last-place finishes and dwindling attendance, however, they made the move to Kansas City.
In 1967, the A’s left Kansas City for Oakland, Calif., where they have played since.
Now they’ll return to their original home, where the very youngest of the remaining Philadelphia A’s fans are in their late 50s.
While the A’s returning to Philadelphia has generated much of the buzz for this series, Friday’s opener features perhaps the best pitching matchup of the weekend.
Zito, the defending American League Cy Young Award winner, has been impressive again this season. However, over his last three starts, he is just 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA.
On Sunday, Zito gave up four runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings, but did not get the decision in the A’s 6-4 win over the Kansas City Royals.
“It’s frustrating to not get the win,” Zito said. “But if I do my job and hold them down like I should, it would be 6-0 or 6-1.”
Wolf was able to do his job on Sunday, and it resulted in a 4-3 win over the Montreal Expos. In six innings, he allowed three runs and two hits while striking out six.
“He was going on blood and guts,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “It was a good job for having nothing.”
The Phillies welcome the A’s after dropping three straight to the Seattle Mariners, the first time they’ve been swept in a series this season.
On Thursday, Philadelphia led 4-2 going into the ninth inning, but Seattle’s Mike Cameron hit a three-run homer off closer Jose Mesa to give the Mariners a 5-4 victory. It was Mesa’s third blown save of the season.
The A’s come in after dropping two of three to the Florida Marlins, including a 2-0 loss on Thursday.
STANDINGS: Athletics - 2nd place, 7 GB, AL West. Phillies - 3rd place, 9 GB, NL East.
ATHLETICS PROBABLE STARTER: Zito (6-4, 2.94 ERA). Zito has lasted at least six innings in nine consecutive starts. He has never faced the Phillies.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Wolf (6-3, 3.43 ERA). Wolf had been 0-1 with a 5.09 ERA in his previous three starts heading into his win over Montreal. The 26-year-old lefty has never faced the A’s.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Athletics - Eric Byrnes, .321 avg.; Erubiel Durazo, 38 RBIs and 34 runs; Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada, 10 HRs; Chavez, 5 SBs. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .330 avg.; Jim Thome, 13 HRs and 43 RBIs; Jimmy Rollins, 38 runs and 7 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Athletics - 1-2; Phillies - 0-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Athletics - RF Terrence Long did not play on Thursday, ending his consecutive games streak at 457. He was not hurt. … CF Byrnes snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a fifth-inning single on Thursday. … LHP Zito is hitless in nine career at-bats with seven strikeouts. Phillies - SS Rollins, who has just one hit in his previous 25 at-bats, was dropped to second in the lineup on Thursday, but went 0-for-4. … LHP Rheal Cormier has allowed just two earned runs in 27 2-3 innings since giving up five in his first appearance. … LF Pat Burrell is 1-for-9 with three strikeouts in the three games since he was dropped to seventh in the order.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Athletics - 14-17 on the road; Phillies - 17-14 at home.