Charles ("Charlie") Oscar Finley (February 22, 1918 – February 19, 1996), who preferred to go by the nickname "Charlie O" was the colorful and controversial owner of the Oakland Athletics (aka the "Oakland A's") Major League baseball team.
Finley purchased the Athletics when they were based in Kansas City. After threatening to move because of low attendance, Finley moved the team to Oakland in January, 1968 with a team filled with star players. Finley also brought the team mascot, mule Charlie O, with them when they moved to Oakland.
The team went on to win three consecutive World Series (1972, 1973, 1974) and five division titles.
Finley was a very hands-on owner, and many found him difficult to work with. But Finley also brought some innovations to the game: night time games at the World Series, and the designated hitter rule. And he's responsible for the kelly green, gold, and white uniforms, introduced in 1963. At the time, the brightly-colored uniforms caused quite a stir in baseball.
Other things Finley was responsible for include the first ball girls (including Debbi Fields, later of Mrs. Fields' Cookies fame), a $300 bonus for players to grow mustaches that led Rollie Fingers to grow his signature 'stache, and hiring Stanley Burrell (better known as MC Hammer) as an executive VP to be his clubhouse spy. Finley even put MC Hammer in the announcing booth to do the play-by-play one game.
Charlie O. died at the age of 77 in the Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago.
Links and References
- Charles O. Finley, Baseball Team Owner Who Challenged Traditions, Dies at 77 New York Times February 20, 1996
- Charlie Finley on Wikipedia