The Good, the Bad and the Ridiculous: The Eccentric and Successful Antics of Charlie Finley

Charlie Finley was an innovative, and often ridiculous, owner who brought a modern twist to the game. Through his antics, the A's saw some of its most successful years with 3 consecutive World Series.
Sports Contributor Archive 2018
Sports Contributor Archive 2018 / Ron Vesely/GettyImages
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It’s no secret that A’s fans want John Fisher out of the picture. The “Summer of Sell” has raged on, with fans chanting this mantra at home and away games. We’ve seen the best of t-shirts and signs with this slogan (the giant poster hanging from the stands on a national broadcast is my personal favorite).

Fans are fed up with ownership and have made their feelings clear: out with Fisher and in with anyone else.

A change will not come anytime soon. As I resigned myself to this fact, I needed a quick fix to ease the sadness that ensued. I began daydreaming about what a new owner might look like.

Who do we need to reinvigorate a team already out of AL West contention and a demoralized fanbase? Also, how many checks would they be willing to write?

In the midst of concocting this fantasy, I decided to take a deep dive into the unorthodox and surprisingly hilarious business tactics of former A's owner, Charlie Finley.

His tenure was marked by innovation and off-the-wall antics that fostered the A's success in the 1970s. During this run, Finley was deemed the "star of the show," rightfully credited with the team's three consecutive World Series wins.

20 Years of Innovation and a Modern Perspective

Before I introduce you to the ridiculous moments of Finley's ownership, you should first know that he was an innovator. As a self-made, industrious pioneer in the medical insurance industry, it is no surprise that Finley was a baseball trailblazer. He was an early advocate for increased interleague games, the designated hitter and shorter seasons. He was responsible for drafting Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers, just to name a few legends.

In an even more modern twist, Finley was a proponent of night games for higher TV ratings and to reach a wider audience (makes me wonder what he would say about the A's moving to the last ranked baseball TV market in the country). In an effort to speed up the game, he even installed a clock to enforce the 20 second time limit between pitches - a rule that was often ignored. Finley was 5 decades ahead of his time!