The speedy North had a four-year run as one of the premier centerfielders in the game. After the A's acquired him in November 1972 for Bob Locker, North posted stolen-base totals of 53, 54, 30, and 75, leading the AL in 1974 and 1976 and finishing second
in 1973. He turned an unassisted double play on July 28, 1974 against the White Sox. North also utilized his speed in the field to lead AL outfielders three times in total chances per game, twice in putouts, and once each in assists and double plays.
A good leadoff hitter, he walked often and scored a career-high 98 runs in 1973,
when he also had his highest batting average, .285. In 1974, despite a LCS average
of .063 and a WS average of .059, North was productive, scoring three runs in each
series. Hampered by hand, foot, and ankle injuries in 1977, he was traded to the
Dodgers after a slow start in 1978. Granted free agency after another disappointing
season, he returned to form with the Giants in 1979, hitting .259 and finishing second
in the NL in steals (58) and fourth in walks (96). The 58 steals were a San Francisco
record, and North missed the overall franchise mark of 62 because injuries kept him
out of 20 games. After a similar season in 1980, he tailed off in 1981. (JFC)
Bill North wrote the following note to BaseballLibrary.com on May 23, 2001:
"I was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1969 after my junior year of college at Central Washington State and went my senior year of
college to Arizona State. I graduated from college in 1993 with a BA in sociology. I hope you don't find this trivial as it is important
to me and it also keeps me from answering questions about it. I want to thank you in advance for your attention to this matter and want to tell what a good service you provide to fans and individuals like myself. Thanks, again. Repectfully, Bill North."
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»May 18, 1973: During a 5–4 win over the Royals, the A's Bill North punches Kansas City P Doug Bird, earning a 3-day league suspension.
»July 28, 1973:
The Kansas City Royals blow out the Oakland A's, 19–8, with Aurelio Monteagudo picking up the win. A defensive moment is provided by A's CF Billy North, who makes an unassisted DP.
»September 20, 1973:
A's speedster Bill North trips over 1B in a 5–4 loss to the Twins, severely spraining his right ankle and costing him both the American League SB crown and a chance to play in the World Series. The Twins are 14–4 against Oakland this year, tying the AL record of the 1909 Athletics for most wins against a pennant winner.
»June 5, 1974: Oakland's Reggie Jackson and Bill North engage in a clubhouse fight at Detroit. Jackson injures his shoulder, and Ray Fosse, attempting to separate the combatants, suffers a crushed disk in his neck He'll spend 12 weeks on the DL, virtually ending his season.
»June 8, 1975: Detroit's Tom Veryzer doubles with two out in the 9th to stop Oakland's Ken Holtzman's no-hitter. Outfielder Bill North misjudges Veryzer's hit, but is not charged with an error. Holtzman retires the last hitter for a 4–0 victory.