Card: 1975 Topps Mini #380
"Sal Bando was the godfather. Capo di capo. Boss of all bosses on the Oakland A's. We all had our roles, we all contributed, but Sal was the leader and everyone knew it." - Reggie Jackson
Born in Cleveland, OH, Salvatore Leonard Bando is a former player and executive. He played as a third baseman in Major League Baseball between 1966 and 1981, and was an integral member of the Oakland Athletics dynasty that won three consecutive World Series championships between 1972 and 1974. He ended his playing career with the Milwaukee Brewers.
As a rookie, Sal was initially touted as a defensive talent, and he struggled early on trying to hit big league pitching. He credited Joe DiMaggio — then an executive and occasional hitting coach for the Athletics — with getting him to close up his stance and keep his head down to hit for more power, The Sporting News reported in 1969.
Team captain Sal Bando was the glue that held the volatile Oakland A’s together during their three-year run as World Series champions (1972-1974). Respected by teammates, peers, and his managers, He was Oakland’s unequivocal leader, a durable, rough-and-tumble third baseman who averaged 23 home runs and 90 runs batted in over an eight-year span in an offensively depressed era (1969-1976).
Often overlooked while playing in the shadows of teammate Reggie Jackson and arguably the best third baseman in big-league history, Brooks Robinson, the four-time All-Star Bando finished second, third, and fourth in the AL Most Valuable Player voting from 1971 to 1974, and clouted 242 home runs in his 16-year big-league career (1966-1981).
In a detailed 2013 biography of Bando, the Society for American Baseball Research determined that from 1969 to 1973 his “wins above replacement” figure — which estimates the total contribution of a player in comparison to a hypothetical likely replacement — was the highest in baseball, beating out not just Reggie Jackson but also Pete Rose and Johnny Bench - the elite players of the era.
Over four consecutive American League Championship Series from 1971–74, he hit five home runs in 17 games, including two in Game 2 of the 1973 ALCS game and a solo shot in Game 3 of the 1974 ALCS, a 1-0 victory.
Playing almost exclusively at third base in Oakland, Bando played every infield position while with the Brewers, even making one appearance as a relief pitcher in a 1979 game.
After retiring, Bando briefly served as a color analyst for NBC (teaming with Bob Costas on telecasts), then became a front office executive with the Brewers. He was named the team's general manager on October 8, 1991. Sal died on Friday, Jan 20, 2023 in Oconomowoc, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee. He was 78.
His younger brother Chris was a catcher for the Cleveland Indians.
Sal Bando is part of the Topps Card Tour – 1975 Topps – Go to the Next Stop
Sal is also part of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Sal is part of the All-Star Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Sal is also part of the Athletics Player Tour – Go To the Next Stop
See all of Sal’s baseball cards at TCDB
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