Before sporting the green and gold of the Oakland A’s, Coco Crisp already had a meaningful baseball connection to the Bay Area.
“I was 12 years old,” Crisp said at the team’s annual FanFest. “All we had was one tennis ball. There was a huge fence over there. There were basketball courts over here, housing on the other side of the fence—it was almost like Sandlot in a way, no dog though.”
Crisp recalled hitting the ball toward right center, but couldn’t quite remember which side he was batting on. As he talked about the home run and how the tennis ball because of it, a look of amusement washed over his face.
“The next year, because of that home run, I ended up hitting six home runs in Little League baseball,” Crisp laughed. “I was a power hitter.”
The 12-year-old power hitter grew up to be a speedy MLB player and a favorite of A’s fans. On Friday, the A’s announced that they signed Crisp to a two-year contract extension with a vesting option for 2017. It has been reported that he will earn $11 million a season in 2015 and 2017, with the vesting option for $13 million with a $750,000 buyout.
“I didn’t try to break the bank, obviously,” Crisp said about the contract negotiations leading to the extension. “I knew that I could go into free agency next year I would probably make a heck of a lot more money playing somewhere else, but that’s not my intent. I really would love to get a World Series ring here.”
The outfielder noted the dedication and camaraderie that the team has and felt their time is now. With manager Bob Melvin at the helm, the A’s are ready to win a championship—one of the factors that led the 34-year-old to sign the extension.
Along with the desire to win a World Series and his familial link to the Bay, there was also a part of Crisp that was drawn to the Oakland A’s legacy.
As a child, young Crisp and his father would go to the Rose Bowl every first Sunday to get baseball cards—trying to collect as many Rickey Henderson cards as possible.
“Being out here and being a part of this heritage, the A’s, and being able to be alongside one of the guys that I idolize is just really surreal,” Crisp said. “It’s kind of an amazing thing.”
For a few more years Crisp will add to the legacy of the ballclub, but don't expect more Bernie Leaning from him this season. Crisp has a new dance, which he debuted at FanFest— Ed Lover's "Let Me Clear My Throat".