Walter A. Haas Jr. was a noted philanthropist and chairman of Levi Strauss when he bought the Oakland A’s in 1981. Under Haas’s ownership, the A’s won three straight American League pennants (1988–90) and one World Series. In 1989, they set what was then a Bay Area attendance record, drawing more than 2.9 million fans. The emphasis for the A’s during the period of Haas’s ownership was on reaching out to the community. They were the first club in major league baseball to have a Community Affairs department, which every club has now, and did many other things throughout the community. The A’s were a great source of pride for the Oakland community at that time. The A’s under Haas also pioneered the use of the new baseball statistics championed by Bill James and the use of computers. The baseball statistics were used to promote a consistent style of play in the minor league system as well. Haas also had a deep commitment to his alma mater, Cal, as had his father, whose name is on the business school. Haas contributed heavily to the school’s athletic program, usually privately, though his name is on the school’s basketball arena, finished after his death in 1995.
Inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
Plaque location: SFO Gate 84