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
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Charlie Finley
Charlie Finley / Tony Inzerillo/GettyImages

A Mule, Hot Pink Foul Poles and a Mechanical Rabbits

When asked what an aspiring baseball owner should do to reach this lofty goal he said, "...suggest no innovations. Make no efforts at change. That way you will be very popular with your fellow owners.” To be accepted into this exclusive club, make it seem like you won't do a damn thing. In light of current ownership, the irony is hard to ignore.

Of course, this is just to get a foot in the door. After buying the A's, he showcased a wealth of ridiculous ideas.

In 1965, he purchased a mule - aptly named Charlie O. - that became the Kansas City A's mascot and trotted around ballparks before games. While this is not particularly shocking, he insisted that the mule go on road trips and even stay overnight in the hotel with the team. Maybe he thought a rally mule in a suite would bring good luck?

Deemed "Baseball's Super Showman" by Time magazine, Finley pushed for a more colorful game. Quite literally colorful. He painted stadium fences bright yellow, the foul poles hot pink, and used gold bases. He pushed the MLB to adopt orange baseballs and the league allowed it for spring training games.

If this wasn't tacky enough, he installed a mechanical rabbit next to home plate that would deposit balls to umpires.

This list is just the beginning of Finley's zany but entertaining ideas to appeal to a wider audience. Maybe these weren't as productive as night games but it must have piqued someone's interest.