SEATTLE - It's quite a trio which Bob Melvin joined Thursday night in the 500-win club among A's managers.
Two of the three others to reach the milestone are in the Hall of Fame - Connie Mack and Tony La Russa. Art Howe is the other member of the group. Together these four have combined for 5,480 A's managerial victories, though that's a bit misleading because Mack by himself accumulated nearly two-thirds of those.
Here's a closer look at the men that Melvin joined.
Connie Mack (1901-1950): The original manager of the A's franchise when it began in Philadelphia, Mack's longevity is hard to even fathom. He managed the team for a half-century, from 1901 all the way to 1950, racking up 3,582 victories and is still the major leagues' all-time leader in wins (he also won 149 games skippering the Pittsburgh Pirates). Mack was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937, then stuck around for 13 more years after that. He guided the A's to five World Series titles but actually finished that long tenure with a losing record at 3,582-3,814 (.484). OK, so Melvin isn't as dapper a dresser, but how many managers can you name that wore a suit in the dugout as Mack did?
Tony La Russa (1986-1995): He guided the A's to three straight pennants that included a World Series championship in 1989. La Russa managed a roster chock full of big names, but although the hype of the Bash Brothers dominates his stint in Oakland's dugout, his teams were grounded in solid pitching and played fundamentally smart baseball. La Russa is credited with revolutionizing the way bullpens were used, designating relievers to be used in more specialized situations. He went 798-673 (.542) in his 10 seasons with Oakland, then went on to take the St. Louis Cardinals to two World Series crowns. He and Melvin are both big classic rock fans, and we're guessing they each have a couple of Day On The Green ticket stubs stashed away somewhere.
Art Howe (1996-2002): Howe guided the A's in their transition years from a floundering ballclub in the late 90's into the AL West powerhouse that was anchored by the Three Aces. Oakland won two division titles and made three straight postseason trips under him from 2000-02. Howe went 600-533 (.530) in seven seasons managing the A's. Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman portrayed Howe in the movie "Moneyball," so that's understandably a tough act for Melvin to follow from the Hollywood standpoint.
Bob Melvin (2011-current): Melvin took over the reins from Bob Geren part way through the 2011 season, and his enthusiasm and competitive fire quickly initiated a shift for the positive within the clubhouse. He led the A's to consecutive AL West titles in 2012 and 2013, then a wild card berth in 2014 and was named AL Manager of the Year in '12. He enjoyed 94, 96 and 88-win seasons in his first three full years on the job. The past two-plus years have been very tough, with Melvin's overall A's record sitting at 500-495 (.503). Throughout his tenure in Oakland, his rapport with players has been one of his strengths.