As the Oakland Athletics continue their slow march toward relocating to Las Vegas, a fan-created T-shirt asking team owner John Fisher to sell the floundering franchise will be making its way to Cooperstown.
Taking its place in the Baseball Hall of Fame alongside Oakland A’s artifacts including a Dennis Eckersley glove from the 1990s and a jersey that pitcher Dave Stewart wore during the 1989 World Series, the “SELL” shirt was featured prominently when a season-high 27,759 fans staged a reverse boycott and showed up at RingCentral Coliseum to watch the Athletics extend their winning streak to seven games with a win over Tampa Bay on June 13. That was the same day the Nevada Senate voted to approve $380 million in public money for a Las Vegas ballpark for the beleaguered ballclub.
(When asked about the success of the reverse boycott, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred quipped: “It is great to see what is…almost an average Major League Baseball crowd in the facility for one night.)
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Provided by $39,000 in fan donations and produced by local clothing company Oaklandish, thousands of “SELL” T-shirts were distributed before the game in a parking lot that also featured a taco truck, a DJ and tables set up for Oakland supporters to make their own anti-Fisher signs.
The effort was not lost on Baseball Hall of Fame executive Jon Shestakofsky, who told The Mercury News that the brass in Cooperstown pays “special attention” to team relocations because they often lead to the creation of historic memorabilia.
“We are here to document history and preserve that history as it relates to baseball and it relates to the game,” Shestakofsky said. “That happens on the field, when a significant accomplishment takes place, but it also happens off the field. What we’re really documenting here is the voice of fans. And fans having a voice in this process.”
Shestakofsky also indicated the Hall isn’t taking sides on the team’s move to Las Vegas, but is simply intent on trying to “make sure we are able to tell historically significant stories as time goes on.”
It certainly appears as if any significant stories regarding the A’s will be taking place in Sin City moving forward as the team has officially begun the relocation application process with MLB, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Losers of seven in a row after winning seven straight earlier this month, the A’s are the worst team in baseball at 19-57 and are the only team in MLB with fewer than 20 wins.