Carl Finley's daughter recalls 1970s A's

April 1, 2011 8:14:42 PM PDT
Opening Day has special meaning for one Bay Area woman who literally grew up with the Oakland A's in their championship days.

It happens every spring, when the A's Opening Day comes along. Dublin's Nancy Finley gets nostalgic about the old days.

"Everything is new again and you have that chance to make it to the championships," said Finley.

Finley is the daughter of Carl Finley, who was a minority owner of the A's and the cousin of Charlie O. Finley.

"He became the common enemy. Dad was the one everyone loved," said Finley.

Finley was just 12-years-old when she moved with the A's from Kansas City to Oakland. She was a young girl, growing up with a big-league team.

"My cousins and I used to jump round on top of the dugout before a game started. It was just fun," said Finley.

With players like Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers, Sal Bando and Catfish Hunter, the A's were perennial champions. Still, Charlie Finley was not always well-liked. For one thing, he didn't spend lavishly on players.

"We started Rickey Henderson out at $33,000 a year. That was 1977, but still," said Finley, the former A's pitcher.

"We were a misfit group of guys that just went out and played baseball real hard," said Blue.

Blue remembers Charlie Finley's prickly personality as a motivator.

"I was trying to prove to him every day, I think we all were, that we were worthy of the money that we were making, but he dangled in front of us, he kept us hungry," said Blue.

And for a time, it worked. In the 70s, the A's won five straight divisional titles and three consecutive World Series. Finley has the memories and the rings to show for it.

"This one has the three-leaf clover on the side," said Finley.

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