Glancing Back, and Remembering Norm Bass
In the early 1960s, when it was sometimes difficult to determine whether the Kansas City Athletics were actually a major league or AAA team, hope for the future resided in a string of strong-armed pitchers who came to Kansas City, made their marks for a season or two, and then faded off into other opportunities for glory. No pitcher better exemplifies that transition than Norm Bass.
Bass was a superior all-around athlete. He played football at the University of the Pacific, and later (after his brief baseball career) was a safety with the Denver Broncos of the American Football League.
Bass was signed by the A’s in 1958 and made his debut in Kansas City in 1961. He emerged as the ace of the A’s starting rotation, going 11-11 with a 4.69 ERA and two shutouts. He led the team in wins, a team that finished ninth at 61-100.
He went 2-6 in 1962 with a 6.09 ERA, and finished that season in the minors. He pitched for parts of three more seasons, but managed to appear in only three games with no decisions in the majors. He retired from baseball after the 1965 season with a career record of 13-17, all with Kansas City.