History of the White Elephant
In 1901 Connie Mack and his Philadelphia Athletics helped form the American League. The following year, New York Giants Manager John McGraw dismissed the A's with contempt, calling them "The White Elephants," implying Mack shouldn't be allowed to spend money without supervision. Mack defiantly adopted the White Elephant as the team insignia, and in 1902, the A's won the American League pennant.
The White Elephant remained the team's mascot until later that decade, when it finally made its way to an A's uniform. Its first appearance was on the team's sweaters. In about 1918, the Elephant finally saw game action when Mack had the pachyderm symbol (in blue with a white "A" inside) placed on the left sleeve of every player. By 1920, Mack had fully adopted the A's Elephant as the team's symbol. Gone was the traditional A" on the front of the jersey. In was a blue elephant logo. But after a few poor seasons, Mack decided a change was in order. So, in 1924, the blue elephant was replaced by the white elephant on the team's jersey. The new-look pachyderm seemed to do the trick, as the A's played better ball for the next few years.
In 1928, Mack decided the elephant had worn out its brief welcome on the A's jersey fronts. He replaced it with the familiar "A" on the uniforms, and the A's went on to win two World Championships and an AL crown in the next three years. This resurgence was probably due more to the additions of Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, Lefty Grove, Mickey Cochrane, et al., than to the elephant's absence. That was the last year for the elephant on the A's uniform until 1955, when the A's, now in Kansas City, added an elephant patch to their left sleeves. But when Charlie Finley purchased the team in the early sixties, the elephant mascot was once again sent packing, replaced by, of all animals, a mule. That was the last of the loveable A's mascot until 1988. The elephant once again proved to be a "good luck" charm for the A's, as since its return the Athletics have won three American League pennants and one world championship.