Finley was a first class jerk who moved the A’s out of the Kansas City and into Oakland. On the field, he built teams that won 3 straight World Series. Off the field he alienated EVERYONE, continually bad-mouthing his players, his fellow owners, and the fans of both KC and Oakland. Rarely did a year pass without Finley threatening to move his franchise because the local fans just weren’t good enough for him.
There has been an effort to rehabilitate Finley’s reputation lately and credit him as an innovator — he was the guy behind the DH rule, as well as a bunch of other rule changes that never happened. But I am just old enough to remember that he was universally loathed in the 1970s.
In the Bay Area, the A’s are still the poor step-child compared to the Giants, despite all their success on the field in those early years. A big part of that is the legacy of Charlie Finley, who poisoned everything for the first generation of potential A’s fans. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Comment by Candlestick Parker — February 23, 2013 @ 9:12 pm
The Pirates Dave Littlefield made out well because of his 2003 deals with the Cubs. After Bob Nutting fired Littlefield, who had just traded for Matt Morris and who had drafted Dan Moskos earlier that summer, Hendry gave Littlefield a landing pad on his staff. Theo Epstein kept Littlefield after he replaced Hendly. If the universe produced just results the Cubs would have promoted Littlefield to the GM position.
Comment by szielinski — February 23, 2013 @ 11:25 pm
I believe Littlebrain was probably offered a job by the Giants too when the Pirates finally came to their senses. Honestly, I can’t see any other reason why the Matt Morris trade would have happened. I could at least understand the motivation for the Aramis Ramirez trade. The Pirates wanted to dump salary and Littlebrain simple was unable to analyse young talent. But, the Matt Morris trade was for a terrible and expensive pitcher and he gave up a better player in Rajai Davis than any he received in the Ramirez trade.
As Bill James pointed out 30 years ago, Kuhn’s move to ban the sale of players made the owners, as a group, the real losers here. That’s because the ruling eliminated one of the three ways of acquiring an established good player and thereby increased the leverage of free agents.
Can the next one be the deal that would have resulted in ARod and Magglio to the Red Sox and Manny to Tex with Nomar to CHW? That’s easily the biggest vetoed trade that I can remember.
Comment by Michael Scarn — February 25, 2013 @ 11:41 am
However, Kuhn vetoing selling players might have a good thing in retrospect. In soccer, the buying and selling of players is the most important type of transction. However for soccer teams, this leads to two bad consequences. In a selling players is legal scenario, you can imagine a Steinbrenner type buying the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Elvis Andrus, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and/or other just for cash. More importantly, many soccer teams have atrocious financial problems because they buy players. Many soccer teams do not even try to make a profit and several poorer teams after earlier spending sprees get into such financial problems, they cannot pay their players, have fire salew that make the Marlins seem tame, or go into bankruptcy (google Portsmouth FC, Rangers FC(Scottish soccer), and Malaga plus add in terms such as administration, finacial trouble, NewCo, etc). Kuhn’s (who find as a putz personally) ruling actually might have (even if was inadvertant) saved MLB from financial disaster for the future.
Comment by Damon Selman — February 25, 2013 @ 4:20 pm
Finley was crazy to some extent and I certainly wouldn’t want him owning the team I rooted for. He did have one brilliant idea that…had it been adopted, probably would have changed the history of baseball. When it became obvious that free agency was going to happen he thought guaranteed, long-term contracts were terrible ideas and instead no contract should be for more than 1 year.
That would make every player a free-agent every year. And it would make every off-season a BUYER’S market because there would be an over-abundance of players available.
Can you imagine? First off….no long-term contract bust dragging a team down for years. Secondly…can you imagine the off-season? Third….every player playing every season in a “contract year”? Fourth…player movement would probably make today’s movement look glacial.
I’m not sure the overall effect would make a better league….but it sure would have helped avoid a lot of the distortions we’ve seen in the last 30+ years.
Good points but it is actually the astronomical wages and clubs spending beyond their means that is behind their financial troubles. Certainly the case with Portsmouth. Was the case with Leeds too. Rangers was just astounding incompetence and negligence by a few individuals. Countless English clubs in the lower league have gone into administration without spending much on transfer fees.