Condolences to the family, friends and fans of Mitchell Page, who died yesterday at the age of 59, reportedly in his sleep.
Page rocked the afro, aviators and conceptual facial hair while injecting some much-needed offensive excitement to some terrible late-70s A's squads. Many folks think Page, and not Eddie Murray, should have been the AL Rookie of the Year in '77, when he hit .307 with a .405 OBP and a .521 slugging percentage, 21 HR, 75 RBI and 42 stolen bases. (Murray, by comparison, hit .283 with a .333 OBP, a .470 SLG, 27 HR, 88 RBI and zero SBs, while playing for the far better Orioles.)
Murray, of course, went on to a Hall of Fame career, while Page peaked in '77 and barely hung on as a part-time player for half of his eight major league seasons, his rapid decline allegedly the result of a long-running battle with the bottle. He would later make it back to the bigs in the '90s as a coach with the Royals, and later worked as a coach and hitting instructor for the Cardinals and Nationals.
But despite his relatively brief and disappointing career as a player, Page certainly holds a place in the Big Hair & Plastic Grass Hall of Fame — not just for restoring some honor to the A's green-and-gold at a time when owner Charlie Finley was all but wiping his honky ass with the team, but for bringing some serious personal style to the basepaths, as demonstrated here by his 1978 Topps card.
Thanks for the memories, man; may your funky spirit forever rest in peace.