42 Facts About Charlie Finley


Charles Oscar Finley, nicknamed Charlie O or Charley O, was an American businessman who owned Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics.


Charlie Finley is known as a short-lived owner of the National Hockey League's California Golden Seals and the American Basketball Association's Memphis Tams.


Charlie Finley was born in Ensley, Birmingham, Alabama, attended Ensley High School but was further raised in Gary, Indiana, and later lived in La Porte, 60 miles east of Chicago.


Charlie Finley made his fortune in the insurance business, being among the first to write group medical insurance policies for those in the medical profession.


Charlie Finley showed a penchant for flair and inventive business practices.


Sometimes, when wooing prospective customers, Charlie Finley would drive the client through the richest section of Gary.


In 1956, Charles Charlie Finley purchased a home built in 1942 on Johnson Road just north of Pine Lake in LaPorte, Indiana.

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Charlie Finley had a large mansion built on the property, keeping the colonial house as caretakers quarters.


Charlie Finley had a large "Home of the Oakland A's" sign installed on the roof of another large barn where it could be viewed by vehicles passing on the Indiana toll road.


Charlie Finley was estranged from most of his children at the time of his death.


Charlie Finley first attempted to buy the Philadelphia Athletics in 1954, but American League owners instead approved the sale of the team to Arnold Johnson, who moved the A's to Kansas City for the 1955 season.


On December 19,1960, Charlie Finley purchased a controlling interest in the Kansas City Athletics from Johnson's estate ; he then bought out the minority owners a year later.


Charlie Finley quickly started to turn the franchise around, refusing to make deals with the New York Yankees and searching for unheralded talent.


From 1961 onward, Charlie Finley was effectively his own general manager, though the A's nominally had someone who had the title or duties of general manager until 1966.


Charlie Finley replaced the Athletics' traditional elephant mascot with a live mule.


However, a rule passed in 1958 held that no major-league fence could be closer than 325 feet, so league officials forced Charlie Finley to move the fences back after two exhibition games.


In 1963, Charlie Finley changed the team's colors to Kelly Green, Fort Knox Gold, and Wedding Gown White.


In 1974, after winning a third straight World Series championship, Charlie Finley lost ace pitcher Jim 'Catfish' Hunter to free agency as a result of a contract clause violation.


Charlie Finley attempted to sell Rudi and Fingers to the Red Sox for $1 million each and Blue to the Yankees for $1.5 million, at which Major League Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn decided to invoke the rarely used "best interests of baseball" clause in order to void Charlie Finley's sales.


Charlie Finley, in turn, hired famed sports attorney Neil Papiano and proceeded to file a $10 million restraint-of-trade lawsuit against Kuhn and Major League Baseball.


That winter, Blue sought a $92,500 salary, held out, missed much of the 1972 season, before Blue and Charlie Finley settled at $63,000.


Finley and his "right-hand man," cousin Carl A Finley started scouting for new talent in 1977.


However, after that season, Charlie Finley's wife divorced him and would not accept an interest in the A's as part of a settlement.


In 1980, Charlie Finley agreed in principle to sell to businessman Marvin Davis, who planned to move the Athletics to Denver.


Charlie Finley was an outspoken advocate of the designated hitter rule, which he advocated until it was adopted by the American League.

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Charlie Finley purchased the Oakland Seals of the National Hockey League in 1970, renaming the team California Golden Seals.


In 1970, Charlie Finley purchased the Memphis Pros of the American Basketball Association, changing the team's name to the Memphis Tams, the name being an acronym for Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.


Charlie Finley hired recently retired Kentucky Wildcats basketball coach Adolph Rupp as team president.


The American cities would be made up of those that lost out on the United States Football League folding, with Charlie Finley representing Chicago; the USFL's Arizona Outlaws had already come out in support of the idea of playing in the CFL as an American team, as had certain executives with the Memphis Showboats.


The CFL insisted upon a minimum $20 million per year television contract to even consider the idea, and though Charlie Finley was optimistic that such a contract could be secured, networks all rejected the plan, and the CFL Commissioner at the time, Douglas Mitchell, explicitly ruled out adding teams from the United States or changing the CFL's format.


Charlie Finley resided primarily in Chicago and LaPorte, even as he owned the Oakland A's, making frequent trips to Oakland.


Charlie Finley was in constant contact with his cousin Carl A Finley who was overseeing the management of the team locally.


Charlie Finley was popular in his hometown of LaPorte, where he remained involved in the community late into his life.


Charlie Finley sent the team equipment once, including the white shoes the Oakland A's made famous and that the LaPorte High School team would use until the late 1990s.


Charlie Finley lived his final years on his farm in LaPorte.


Charlie Finley died at age 77 on February 19,1996, three days before his 78th birthday.


Charlie Finley had suffered from heart disease and had been admitted two weeks earlier to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.


When Charlie Finley owned the Kansas City Athletics, he promised the people of Kansas City that he would bring The Beatles to play in Kansas City's Municipal Stadium during the group's first tour of North America in the summer of 1964.


Charlie Finley visited the group's manager, Brian Epstein, in San Francisco on August 19,1964, where the Beatles were playing the first date of the tour.


Charlie Finley told Epstein that he was disappointed that Kansas City was not among the group's itinerary, and offered first $50,000 and then $100,000 if the Beatles would schedule a concert in the Missouri city.


Charlie Finley encountered Epstein again in Los Angeles a week later and they agreed on $150,000.


Charlie Finley had a photo of himself in a Beatles wig printed on the back of all concert tickets.