#3: Rollie Fingers
Although some might remember Rollie Fingers most for his trademark handlebar mustache, he’s also a seven-time All-Star with three World Series rings, an MVP Award, and a Cy Young Award. Fingers was named Relief Man of the Year four times, led the league in saves in three seasons, and was the MVP of the 1974 World Series
That probably explains why both the Oakland A’s and Milwaukee Brewers have retired his number 34, a double honor that only a few select players can claim. It also explains why, in 1992, Fingers was elected to the Hall of Fame on his second ballot.
There were two notable moments in the off-field career of Fingers, including a locker room fight shortly before the 1974 World Series was set to begin. He got in a fight with fellow pitcher Blue Moon Odom, and Fingers even needed stitches following the incident. The other off-field drama occurred in 1976, when Charlie Finley attempted to sell his star players – Fingers, Joe Rudi and Vida Blue – to the Red Sox and Yankees. Fingers was to be sent to Boston for $1 million, along with Rudi, but Commissioner Bowie Kuhn overruled the deal in the interested of the game.
Fingers was not just one of the first closers in the game; he was one of history’s best, and he deserves a very high spot on this list for his accomplishments.
Next: Top 50 Oakland Athletics: #2