Phillies rumors: Could Philadelphia support an A’s return?

For the first time since 1967 and the third time in franchise history, the Oakland Athletics — which were formed in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics, before becoming the Kansas City Athletics in 1955 and the Oakland Athletics in 1968 — could be on the move.

The franchise said on Tuesday that they have Major League Baseball’s blessing to begin exploring the possibility to relocate, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The announcement is perceived as putting pressure on local government to approve a new stadium project, which for years now has been in “limbo.”

If the A’s in fact relocate, could things come full circle and they return to the City of Brotherly Love?

The A’s were almost always better than the Phillies in their Philadelphia days.

Founded in 1883, the Philadelphia Phillies have been a staple in our area — providing National League baseball spanning nearly 140 years. However, when the American League was formed at the turn of the 20th century, the Connie Mack-led Philadelphia Athletics came on board in 1901 as among the initial eight teams in the American League.

Over the next half-century, the Phillies only won two National League pennants — 1915 and 1950 — whereas the Athletics won nine, including five World Series championships in 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, and 1930.

The A’s simply were the most successful and popular team in Philadelphia, thanks to their stability of one owner, the Shibe family and later Mack. The Phillies, on the other hand, often struggled and went through several owners.

Eventually, the two clubs shared venues starting in July 1938, Shibe Park, after the Phillies left the deteriorating Baker Bowl. Shibe Park was renamed to Connie Mack Stadium in 1953, honoring the longtime A’s manager, and the Phillies would continue to player there through 1970 before their move to Veterans Stadium.

After the 1954 season, the A’s moved to Kansas City — leaving the Phillies as Philadelphia’s lone major-league club. The A’s had gone through a stretch of 11 eighth-place finishes in 23 seasons

Could Philadelphia support a second MLB team?

Nearly 70 years after the A’s left Philadelphia, would there be enough interest in the city for a second Major League team?

With the designated hitter expected to be a permanent fixture across Major League Baseball starting in 2022, pending an agreement during collective bargaining negotiations, there would not be the “National League” and “American League” baseball differences between the two teams.

Still, Phillies fans on social media seem open to the idea of a Philadelphia A’s comeback.

New York City has two teams in the Mets and Yankees. In North Jersey, the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets share MetLife Stadium. There is a proven model that two teams across the same zip codes can generate fan support.

Time will tell if the A’s even relocate at all from Oakland. If they do, don’t rule out Philadelphia.