Esteury Ruiz

Esteury Ruiz's historical feat offers hope for A's future

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Despite dropping their season finale, the Athletics left Sunday's 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels with a historic achievement.

Outfield Estuery Ruiz made history in the top of the third inning, stealing his 67th base of the season, breaking an American League record that had stood for over 30 years since Kenny Lofton stole 66 in 1992.

In a year that has been anything but smooth for a franchise in transition, Ruiz was the latest Athletics player to offer a reason to celebrate, something that has been few and far between for a team that has lost more games than they ever have since moving to Oakland in 1968.

"It was a good moment," Manager Mark Kotsay said after the game. "But it was a goal for him [Ruiz]. I know how hard he has worked. He's relentless in his preparation. He studies consistently pitchers, prior to playing every game. He's great at picking up tendencies, thus the reward that he now is the new rookie leader in stolen bases in the American League."

The electric outfielder was a weapon on the basepaths all season, finishing his rookie season with 15 multi-stolen base games, which led the MLB.

Another up-and-coming outfielder offering optimism for the future is Brent Rooker, who belted his 30th home run of the season while recording a pair of extra-base hits in the season's final game.

Rooker also recorded his 20th double of the season on Sunday, highlighting the plus-power Rooker brought to the A's lineup after being claimed off waivers last fall.

Kotsay spoke about how Rooker's improbable journey from fringe roster player to a fixture in the heart of the lineup made the achievement even more special in his eyes.

"It's great for Rook [Brent Rooker]. Actually, I had a pretty big reaction for the kid, I think it's just cause where I know he's come from. He was the 26th man on the team out of spring training, so I reacted probably a little more emotionally than I should have. I'm really happy for Rook, he's come a long way in his career, grinded, and I know what it means to him."

The A's were a bad baseball team this season, and there's simply no other way to slice it. At 50-112, they finished the season with the worst record in the big leagues and often looked the part of their abysmal record.

However, through this adversity emerged a viable blueprint moving forward, led by a group of young players that appear to be a viable foundation to build on in the years to come

Every cloudy day needs its silver lining, and today's milestones offered the most valuable thing you can to a sports franchise that has lost its way. Hope for the future.

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