If the Oakland Athletics are going to defeat the New York Yankees in Wednesday’s American League Wild Card Game, they’ll have to end a drought that spans more than 40 years.
In 1973, A’s defeated the New York Mets Game 7 of the World Series. In the time since that win, Oakland has not won a single winner-take-all playoff game.
What #Athletics are up against: They've lost 7 consecutive winner-take-all postseason games. The last time they won a do-or-die game? Game 7 of the 1973 World Series, behind HRs by Reggie Jackson and Campy Campaneris
— Daniel Brown (@BrownieAthletic) October 2, 2018
Six of those losses have come in Game 5 of the ALDS. The A’s have lost twice to both the Yankees (2000, 2001) and Detroit Tigers (2012, 2013), and once to the Minnesota Twins (2002) and Boston Red Sox (2003). Then, Oakland lost the 2014 American League Wild Card Game in dramatic fashion to the Kansas City Royals.
What’s interesting is that the A’s have enjoyed a fair amount of postseason success since 1973. They won the World Series in both 1974 and 1989, reached the Fall Classic in 1988 and 1990, and made the ALCS in 1981 and 2006. But every series in that time — eight in total — featured Oakland either sweeping or losing only one game.
Of course, it needs to be noted that this is a much different squad than even the one that lost in 2014.
What’s also interesting is that the A’s won four postseason series en route to World Series wins in 1972 and 1973. Every one of those featured Oakland winning a winner-take-all game. So, if that kind of history can go from good to bad so quickly, it can go from bad to good just as fast.
So, even if the recent history isn’t good, there is some good news for fans of the A’s out there.