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Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball's Super Showman Hardcover – July 6, 2010
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Equal parts carnival barker, professional bully, world-class tightwad, and uncanny builder of championship baseball teams, Oakland A's owner Finley left a stamp on baseball that can still be seen more than 30 years after his departure from the game. Sabermetricians (baseball stats junkies) Green and Launius are thorough and balanced in telling Finley's story, from his start in the steelworks of Gary, Indiana, to his grand success selling disability insurance to physicians, to his purchase of the Kansas City Athletics in 1960 and their bitterly fought move to Oakland in 1968, and, finally, to his sale of the team in 1978. The authors capture not only the enmity Finley engendered everywhere he traveled in the baseball world—including his own clubhouse—but also Finley's valiant efforts to keep his team alive in the face of a tough Oakland market and exploding free agency. A good complement to the just-published Reggie Jackson. --Alan Moores
"Charlie Finley takes a commendably even-handed approach to its volatile subject."--Wall Street Journal
"One of the most promising sports titles on the horizon."--Wall Street Journal
"[A] marvelous new biography of Finley...Green and Launius have brought an American Original back from the grave."--Timothy M. Gay, author of Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson
The authors capture not only the enmity Finley engendered everywhere he traveled in the baseball world--including his own clubhouse--but also Finley's valiant efforts to keep his team alive in the face of a tough Oakland market and exploding free agency. A good complement to the just-published Reggie Jackson."--Booklist
"Charlie Finley finally gets the recognition--and the well-researched biography--that he deserves. This book bursts with fresh material, vibrant characters, and important historical insight. It's a flat-out winner."--Jonathan Eig
"I can't imagine that anyone could have done a better job describing the life of Charlie Finley than Michael Green and Roger Launius. The book was wonderfully written and superbly researched. Finley may have been a bad guy, but his impact on the game of baseball was enormous."--Peter Golenbock, author of The Bronx Zoo and Red Sox Nation
"An insightful, often rollicking, look at one of baseball's true kingpins."
--Tim Wendel, author of High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time
"NASA senior planner Green and Smithsonian Air and Space Museum senior curator Launius do a creditable job pinning down both the mundane and the extraterrestrial aspects of Charles Oscar Finley's remarkable rise....Most readers will agree with the authors' final assessment that Finley was an innovative, infuriating jackass whose braying was sometimes sensible, even wise."--Kirkus
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Otherwise, a really good book. The details on Finley's pre-baseball life are solid and while some reviewers were critical of the 'tabloid' nature of the accounting of his divorce, I'm not sure how else the authors could've covered it.
So I was pretty pumped to learn that some SABR guys took on a modern treatment of the guy. But while this book does add quite a bit of new research via new interviews, the book isn't too much more than a retelling and compilation of the same stories from many of the same sources I've already read. I was hoping for a little more in terms of analysis of advanced metrics of the mid-70s A's teams (they surprisingly rely mostly on traditional statistics) and more about how Charlie pioneered many of the business techniques that small market teams continue to utilize to find success. That latter is there in part, but mostly in conclusory terms.
Ultimately, it's a good read and a nice summation of Charlie's life in baseball, even if I perhaps unfairly expected more from the book.
Its all here - this team was THE Dynasty in 70s before the later Reds and Yankees. Well written, with incredible detail on interaction w/players and owners, including ongoing battles w/Reggie Jackson and Bowie Kuhn. As a hardcore, longtime knowledgable baseball enthusiast, I gotta say I came away w/tons of information I didn't know prior. Definitely one of the Best baseball and sports bio books I've read in awhile.
It is true that on-the-field writings are not well represented, but keep in mind that this is a book about the man, not the game. The game is incidental.
My biggest complaint was that, when the authors would reference a stat of some sort, they'd often get it wrong. Too often for my taste. Yet, while this was annoying, it didn't detract from the message about the man, so I had to make myself look past that aspect.
Overall, a good and easy read about a fascinating man.
Most recent customer reviews
It was, basically, a soap opera.Read more