Charles O. Finley
Class of 1993
Category: Distinguished American Sportsman
Born February 22, 1918 in Ensley, Alabama. He was an American businessman who is best remembered for his tenure as the owner of the Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball team. He began showing his interest for baseball as a batboy for the Birmingham Barons in 1930 and 1931. At 15 his family moved to Gary Indiana, where he was the first baseman and captain of his High School baseball team. He played semi-pro baseball in several Indiana cities but had his career cut short in 1946 by a bout of tuberculosis that nearly killed him. After marrying the daughter of an insurance salesman, Finley then made his fortune in the insurance business, being among the first to write group medical insurance policies for those in the medical profession. Due to him being enormously successful as a business man, in 1960 Finley bought the Kansas City A’s. With declining attendance in Kansas City, Finley was eventually given permission to move the franchise to Oakland, California, for the 1968 season, eventually renaming the Oakland A’s.. During his ownership of theOakland A’s they won three consecutive World Series Championships. He is the only person to have owned three major professional sports franchises at the same time: The AS’s, California Golden Seals of the National Hockey League, and the Memphis Tams of the American Basketball Association. Known as the great innovator, he pioneered the use of colorful uniforms, white shoes, and the designated-hitter rule, and brought night baseball to the World Series and the All-Star games.
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