To gain appreciation for Brandon Moss' baseball career, just scan his offseason job resume.
There was the winter of 2003, when Moss worked the cash register at MaxiMart Gas Station in his hometown of Loganville, Ga.
Two years later, he was retrieving carts and driving them back to the clubhouse at Lane Creek Golf Course.
Moss even spent one winter holding down a not-so-enviable job at a veterinarian's office.
"I worked in the kennel, which means I got to clean up poop and walk the dogs," Moss recalled. "The worst was the cats. There's nothing worse than cleaning out litter boxes."
It was all done to earn necessary extra income while he made his way through the Boston Red Sox farm system. And those memories help explain why Moss is savoring his current gig as the A's starting first baseman.
Who knew the A's longtime search for power at the position might be filled by a 28-year-old journeyman playing for his fourth organization?
Moss homered six times in his first nine games after being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on June 6, tying Jack Cust's franchise record for most homers over a player's first nine games with the team.
In 11 games overall, he's hit .278 with 11 RBI, 10 runs and nine extra-base hits. In 56 games before Moss' arrival, A's first basemen combined for just four home runs, 12 RBI, 15 runs and 13 extra-base hits.
He's also turned in some impressive plays at first base after spending most
It all added up to Moss being named American League Player of the Week on Monday.
"Here's a guy who's had a couple opportunities before, and the older you get, you realize these opportunities don't come around all the time," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
The Red Sox drafted Moss in the eighth round out of Loganville High in 2002. He received a $100,000 signing bonus, but that didn't go far for him and his young wife, Allison. Thus, he began his string of wintertime odd jobs.
"I got married when I was 20, and my wife was 18," Moss said. "You gotta pay your own bills. You gotta have an income in the offseason, because a minor league salary doesn't do it."
Moss' willingness to toil away in the offseason didn't surprise Loganville baseball coach Jeff Segars, who said Moss' work ethic in high school set the tone for a program that has won two state titles since he left.
"He outworked everybody," Segars said. "I'd come in sometimes, and he'd have the whole team running stairs and doing agility drills. He's just a leader."
Moss made his big league debut with Boston in 2007. A's fans might remember his first homer -- a game-tying shot off then-A's closer Huston Street in the 2008 season opener in Tokyo.
He was traded to Pittsburgh in July 2008 as part of the three-team deal that sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jason Bay to the Red Sox.
Moss' first and only shot at extended playing time in the majors came with the Pirates in 2009. He hit just .236 with seven homers and 41 RBI in 133 games.
"I didn't have a certain approach, a thought process to get going," Moss said. "You wanna talk about a hitter overmatched? I was way overmatched in 2009."
It wasn't until 2010 -- when Pirates' Triple-A hitting coach Jeff Branson showed Moss old film of himself using a more open batting stance -- that he regained his confidence at the plate.
After signing with Philadelphia and spending most of 2011 in Triple-A, Moss signed a minor league deal with the A's last winter. He hit 15 homers in 51 games for Sacramento, and the A's felt strongly enough about giving him a shot at first base that they designated Kila Ka'aihue for assignment to make room for him.
A's scout Scott Hatteberg -- also the team's temporary color commentator -- called Moss "a bona fide power hitter" but one who will need to make adjustments as pitchers get to know him better.
"He's hot right now, and we've seen people get hot," Hatteberg said. "It's what they do when the league adjusts -- and the league will adjust."
Moss said he's enjoying his current opportunity, which makes all those years in the minors and all the part-time jobs along the way worth it.
"It was not the ideal road," Moss said. "But a lot of times the road you take makes you who you are."