Charlie Finley and the Heyday of Baseball
October 26, 2010
The library has just received a new book on Charlie Finley, one of Kansas City's and baseball's most colorful and controversial figures. Charlie Finley was one of baseball's most contentious, inventive, self promoting owners. He drew the ire of Kansas City residents when he moved the Athletics to Oakland in 1968. But, this move inspired the eventual building of Kauffman Stadium and the granting of an expansion team, the Royals, to Kansas City.
Did you know that Charlie Finley arranged for the Beatles to play in Kansas City? It cost him $150,000 to get Kansas City put on the band's schedule in the fall of 1964. They appeared at Kansas City Municipal Stadium on September 17, near the end of the Beatles first US tour. The concert lasted only 31 minutes, and there were plenty of empty seats in the stadium.
This book tells the story of a time when baseball history was undergoing great change. Charlie Finley participated in the beginning of free agency, the designated hitter, and million dollar contracts. He was involved with many famous players of the time like Rollie Fingers, Catfish Hunter, and Reggie Jackson. In 1972, '73, and '74, Charlie Finley and his Oakland Athletics won the World Series three years in a row.
This new book should be a great read about the business of baseball in the turbulent times of the 1960's and '70s. I bet it will evoke special memoires from each and every reader.