OAKLAND – Stephen Vogt turned on a 94 mph fastball from Zack Weiss and watched it sail into the right-field seats. He rounded first base – high-stepping along the way – with a hysterical Coliseum crowd erupting in the background and his A’s teammates charging out of the dugout in delight.
At the end of a forgettable A’s season, Vogt, in his last game as a Major League player, provided what was perhaps its most unforgettable moment.
Vogt’s seventh-inning solo home run – along with his run in the fifth inning – helped the A’s earn a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, putting a bow on the franchise’s worst season in 43 years.
Starting pitcher Ken Waldichuk struck out four and allowed just three hits over seven innings as the A’s finished the season 60-102, their worst record since the 1979 team went 54-108.
None of that mattered Wednesday, though, as Vogt and his teammates soaked in every last minute of the popular catcher’s last game as a player.
Vogt announced Sept. 22 that he would be retiring as an MLB player at the end of the season, after a 16-year professional career, and that perhaps his long-term goal is to become a big league manager.
Prior to the game, Vogt held a meet-and-greet with several A’s fans and received his first ovation of the afternoon when he trotted out from the A’s dugout to the bullpen.
Vogt walked in the fifth inning for the A’s first baserunner and later scored his team’s first run.
After his home run, Vogt was replaced by Shea Langeliers at catcher, officially wrapping up an unlikely nine-year MLB career that didn’t start until he was 27 years old.
Vogt was given a commemorative home plate and a bottle of wine in a pregame ceremony with A’s manager Mark Kotsay and received a standing ovation from fans and members of both teams.
Two of Vogt’s three children threw out ceremonial first pitches, with his daughter Payton throwing one from the mound that Vogt caught on the fly behind the plate before she jumped into his arms.
Vogt, 37, received another ovation in his first at-bat, as his kids introduced their father from the public address announcer’s booth. Vogt responded with a wave before he faced Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani.
The Coliseum scoreboard also showed some of Vogt’s career highlights in Oakland, most memorably his walk-off single in Game 2 of the 2013 American League Divisional Series against the Detroit Tigers when he was a 28-year-old rookie.
Vogt entered Wednesday with a .238 career batting average and a .705 OPS, with two All-Star Game selections and a World Series championship last year with the Atlanta Braves.
Vogt, though, came into Wednesday hitting .157 and with a .535 OPS, emblematic of the A’s historic struggles on offense this season.
The A’s came into the season-finale last in MLB in batting average (.216), on-base percentage (.281), slugging percentage (.346), and OPS (.627).
The franchise records for lowest batting average and on-base percentage – .223 and .281, respectively – were set in 1908. The previous Oakland record for lowest OPS was set by the 1968 team, which had a .647 mark.
Announced attendance for Wednesday’s game was 11,232, bringing the season total to 787,902 — the lowest mark in MLB and the sixth-lowest in Oakland history.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism