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  Charlie O. eyes a pennant or three

There is no end to the charm—or head-chopping propensities—of Charles O. Finley, whose A's won the American League West last week

by Ron Fimrite

Excerpt from October 9, 1972

In his aerie 25 floors above Oakland's Lake Merritt, Charles O. Finley advanced upon the kitchen and, with the solemn meticulousness that has made wretched the lives of once-carefree subordinates, cooked up a batch of hamburgers.

charlieo2.gif (23k) He chopped onions with surgical precision, kneaded the raw red meat like a sculptor molding clay and snapped instructions at his houseguest, Jimmy Piersall, the old Red Sox centerfielder, who is for the moment director of "group sales" for Finley's Oakland A's baseball team.

"You can cut those tomatoes later, Jimmy. Run next door now and borrow some cooking oil."

"Yes, sir," said Piersall, age 42.

"And then you can resume cutting the damn tomatoes."

"Yes, sir."

"I don't brag about much of anything," Finley said convincingly as Piersall dutifully sped off on his errand, "but I will tell you this: No son of a gun can outcook me."


Finley is the son and the grandson of steelworkers, and it was in this scarcely remunerative trade that he began his moneymaking career. Together grandfather, father and son logged 94 years in the mills.

"I'm a machinist, really," said Finley, flipping the burgers expertly. "I'd still rather work on machines than anything else. I'm more comfortable as a grease monkey than I am doing what I'm doing now."