OAKLAND -- A's equipment manager Steve Vucinich has been with the A's for as long as they have been in Oakland.
As such he has seen four World Series championships.
He's seen Rollie, Rickey, Eck and the Bash Brothers author some of the greatest moments in A's history.
But Vucinich believes the 2012 Athletics are hands-down the best story since the team moved to Oakland in 1968.
"Every other club that's won before, people expected it to be competing," said Vucinich, who has worked for the A's since they arrived from Kansas City. "Nobody expected this, no matter what kind of prognosticator you were. I think this is the most rewarding."
Vucinich says the 1972 club previously ranked atop his list of most memorable teams. That squad captured Oakland's first World Series and began a string of three straight Series titles.
The 1974 team was the strongest all-around, in his opinion. The A's used just 11 pitchers that entire season, a testament to how well the staff pitched (and how healthy they stayed).
But this year's tight-knit bunch impresses Vucinich with the chemistry they've developed despite so many revolving pieces and roster additions throughout the season.
The A's played Wednesday's game against Texas with 15 rookies on the roster. Four of the players who started the game -- shortstop Stephen Drew, first baseman Brandon Moss, catcher George Kottaras and pitcher A.J. Griffin -- were not on the opening
"Sometimes guys come together and you try to mold them," Vucinich said. "But some of that has to be natural."
Vucinich has his finger on the pulse of the team. His office, located just inside the entrance to the A's clubhouse, is a lounge for players, coaches and staff before games.
Vucinich also made an interesting observation regarding the A's experiment with Manny Ramirez. Ramirez was signed to a minor league deal with much hoopla during spring training, and despite rampant speculation on the impact he might have when his 50-game suspension ended, Ramirez never cracked the major league roster and was released June 15. The A's have gone 63-33 since then.
"I still think the Manny thing was a cloud hanging over us, and once that cleared, we've taken off," Vucinich said. "And I'm not blaming Manny, but it was out there."