"I thought, It will be another fast one," Miller would later recall. So he shortened his grip and moved closer to the plate. Malone threw another fastball, and Miller swung. To this day English can see the ball flying over Hornsby's head, dropping in right center and rolling toward the fence. Simmons charged home to win the game 3-2. The Series was over.
Mack always said that the 1929 World Series was the greatest he ever saw, and that a diorama of that final moment should be built and set in a special corner at Cooperstown: Here is Wilson chasing Miller's double to the fence. Over there is Simmons plowing toward home, his spikes chopping up dirt on the path. In the middle is Malone, standing on the mound with his head down. And there is Hoover on his feet, applauding, and Mayor Mackey leaping from the box again, this time tossing his hat in the air, while all the A's charge out of the dugout onto a perfectly manicured patch of green.
It was the last World Series game that America would watch in innocence. Fifteen days later, on Black Tuesday—Oct. 29, 1929—the stock market would crash, and the country would begin to slide into the Great Depression. Nothing would ever be the same. While the A's would win the World Series again in 1930 and a third straight pennant in '31, their fate would mirror the desperate nature of the times. By the end of 1932, scrambling to stay afloat financially, Mack had sold Simmons, Dykes and Haas to the Chicago White Sox for $100,000. In December '33 Mack sent Grove, Walberg and Bishop to the Boston Red Sox for $125,000 and two nobodies, and Cochrane to the Tigers for $100,000 and one nobody. Foxx hit 58 home runs in 1932 and another 128 in the three years after that, but following the '35 season, Mack sold him to the Red Sox for $150,000 and two players. Through the 1930s and '40s the A's never got near another pennant and often had the worst team in baseball.
Of course, New York won the battle for urban supremacy. The A's were Philadelphia's last illusion of ascendancy. The poignant aftermath to all this was that the Yankees led the lobby that drove the A's out of Philadelphia and into Kansas City for the 1955 season. Like conquered slaves, the Kansas City A's became a sort of farm team for the Yankees, and over the years they helped feed New York players such as Roger Maris and Clete Boyer. The A's moved to Oakland in 1968 and won three straight World Series, from 1972 to '74. Then, when owner Charles Finley began feeling financial pressures, much as Mack had years before, the Yankees fed on Oakland's remains. Two of the A's best players, Jim (Catfish) Hunter and Reggie Jackson, figured prominently on the Yankees' 1977 and '78 championship teams.
The A's of '29 to '31 left a generation of Philadelphians with memories of what it was like to have a team that ate the great Yankees for dinner, with Cubs on the side. Today, most fans who recall the A's of that era well are in or nearing their 80's. What they all remember most vividly is that '29 World Series—the day Ehmke whipped the Cubs, the day the A's scored 10 in the seventh and the day Simmons scored from second to win the final game.
Carmen Cangelosi still remembers sitting in Mason's Dance Hall and listening to that seventh inning of Game 4 on the radio. "That inning made me a baseball fan for life," says Cangelosi, 78, a retired graphic artist. "I was an Athletics fan for life. I still know all the players. I know where they played. I know their nicknames: Bucketfoot Al. Double X. Old Reliable. Lefty. Mule. I know that 10-run inning and who scored and how they scored. Just like it was yesterday at Mason's. I remember when they won the World Series. There was a buzz in the air. An energy. You felt good about yourself, about your city, about everybody around you.
"It broke my heart when they moved. They're long gone, but I remember everything. I sometimes go to sleep thinking about them. What a team!"