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.