Carl Finley's daughter talks about 1972 A's

April 20, 2012 10:35:58 PM PDT
On Saturday night at the Coliseum the Oakland A's will honor the 1972 World Series Championship team with a reunion. It's also Rollie Fingers bobblehead night.

On Friday several of the players from that dynasty, staged an autograph session for charity. They won three straight titles and what a team it was. Rollie Fingers was series MVP, there was Gene Tenace, Catfish Hunter, Bert Campanaris, Joe Rudi and of course, Vida Blue.

Charlie Finley was the A's owner at the time and his cousin Carl was the GM and ran the day to day operations. I sat down with Carl's daughter, Nancy, and relived the glory days.

Back in the early 70s, no Bay Area team had ever captured a championship in any sport. Well, Charlie Finley's Oakland A's took care of that in the 1972 World Series as they defeated Cincinnati in seven games.

Nancy was a teenager when the A's captured the Bay Area's first professional championship.

"I don't think I quite understood what we accomplished," said Nancy.

Finley was baseball's Barnum and Bailey. He bought the Kansas City A's at an auction in 1960 and moved them to Oakland in 68. He bucked tradition with bright colored uniforms, white shoes, had a mule as his mascot, and allowed his players to grow facial hair.

Nancy: He said, 'Who ever could grow one of those barbershop mustaches gets a couple hundred dollars.'
Shumann: Back then, that was a lot of money.
Nancy: Yes, yes... so, it was a competition.

His player's nicknames were as colorful as their uniforms: Catfish Hunter, Blue Moon Odom, Captain Sal and Campy.

"Some people think that he made players have nicknames. That's not true, not all of them had nicknames," said Nancy.

Finely loved baseball, but he was more concerned about the paying customers' experience.

"He cared more about the fans than anything," said Nancy.

He would try to make the game day event one to remember.

"His pet peeve was to hear anyone tell someone else, 'That's stupid. That's a stupid idea.' He did not like to hear that because he wanted to hear everything. No matter how crazy it was," said Nancy.

The A's went on to win three straight World Series and the Yankees are the only other team to accomplish that. Charlie Finley is not in the hall of fame and his name is nowhere to be found at the Coliseum.

"I would love to see a tribute jersey in the outfield that says Finley," said Nancy.

Finley was one of a kind. They won World Series titles in 1972, 1973, and 1974. The Warriors won it all in 1975 and the Raiders in 1977. Oakland was the place to be back in the 1970s.


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