Finley #6

This tape is comprised of an interview segment with larger-than-life former Oakland A's owner Charlie Finley. In the interview, Finley gives his opinion on some of the most well-known figures in baseball, and also draws parallels between his current career and his time as owner, reflecting back on his early days with newfound wisdom.

00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars.

00:13Copy video clip URL Famed Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley talks about an idea he had while he was acting as owner and General Manager for the team, where he could act as manager for the team himself. He uses Ted Turner as an example of an owner that wanted to manage his baseball team, but says that he was denied by commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Finley goes on to express the frustration he felt while trying to find a decent manager. “I’ve found in baseball that managers are a dime a dozen… it’s awful hard to find a good manager.”

01:35Copy video clip URL Finley begins giving gives short, concise answers about the way he feels about figures in sports that he had been acquainted with at one time or another. Among them are Bill Veeck, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Harry Caray and George Steinbrenner. Of Veeck, Finley states that he was “one of the greatest characters . . . in or out of baseball.”

02:15Copy video clip URL Finley talks about hall-of-fame baseball player Reggie Jackson, calling him “A great hitter and a great talker . . . he could talk so well, I would even enjoy listening to him.” He goes on to say that Jackson’s major fault was his inability to concentrate while batting.

03:20Copy video clip URL On manager Leo Durocher, Finley says that he was given the nickname, “Leo the Lip,” as he was known for his ability to talk constantly.

04:00Copy video clip URL Finley talks about pitching great Catfish Hunter, saying that he was “The greatest right handed pitcher, I think, that I’ve ever seen in baseball.” This is followed by an anecdote about how Finley had scouted him in high school and signed him to a contract when nobody else would. Finley also goes on to discuss the reason that Hunter left the ball club, telling about when Hunter had said that he would sign with the A’s for another year if Finley would buy a farm for him for $250,000. Finley refused, and regrets it to this day, musing on the fact that if Hunter had stayed with the team, the A’s may have won 4 or 5 World Series in a row.

06:45Copy video clip URL Finley calls former center fielder Jimmy Piersall “the biggest kook in or outside of baseball that I’ve ever met.” He then tells about a time when Piersall begged and pleaded Finley for a job, and Finley obliged. After this, Finley says, Piersall rarely showed his appreciation. “In my opinion, the most unappreciative individual that I ever met in baseball.”

08:11Copy video clip URL On legendary broadcaster Harry Caray, Finley refers to him as “One of the greatest sports announcers sports has ever had.”  Finley says that he was tremendously impressed when Caray announced for the A’s, which was his first announcing job, but the sponsors would not pay him enough to stay.

09:06Copy video clip URL Finley talks about Ken Harrelson, who had played on the Kansas City A’s, and who Finley released after a misunderstanding. “I like Ken Harrelson . . . I don’t know what kind of General Manager he’s going to make.”

10:54Copy video clip URL Regarding then-current Commissioner of Major League Baseball Peter Ueberroth, Finley says that although he does not have any baseball experience, he believes that Ueberroth is “going to do a good job.”

12:03Copy video clip URL Finley draws parallels between his current career operating his insurance business to his career as an owner, saying that his baseball experience has informed his style of business. He goes on to stress the importance of being his own boss and making key decisions on his own.

15:01Copy video clip URL Discussing New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, Finley states that he happens to also be an owner that acts as General Manager for the team as well. Though he has no qualms with him, Finley says that the Yankees team as a whole would be much better off if  “Steinbrenner would just go to his office and let someone else run his team; I don’t think he’s another Charlie Finley.”

16:25Copy video clip URL “If I was in baseball today, I’d sure as hell have that manager sitting up in those stands,” Finley says, commenting on the game currently. He goes on to talk about the “unwritten law of baseball”, which stated that if a coach were to make a suggestion to the owner during the course of a game, he would not come back the next season.

17:05Copy video clip URL Finley says that in his days as an owner, he would communicate with the manager on the road through telephone, and not have to physically be present at every game. He then claims to have never talked to a manager during a game to make a suggestion about game strategy.

18:27Copy video clip URL Finley talks about the importance placed on a “game clock” in most sports, and says that if he had the ability to change one of the rules of baseball, he would push for the “22nd Rule (once the catcher throws the ball to the pitcher, a clock begins counting down)” to be put into action during the games.

19:40Copy video clip URL Regarding his life after baseball, Finley says that while the 20 years he spent in baseball were “quite an enjoyment”, he never thought when he bought the worst team in baseball in 1960 that he would be a Hall of Fame owner. “During those 20 years, I never had any thought at the beginning that I would be as successful as we were.” Finley also expresses his regret, looking back on his days as owner, that he only had time for baseball and missed out on “all the beautiful things that I was missing in life.”

20:51Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment