At 2:30 a.m. Aker
finally arrived at the meeting. When he entered the crowded suite he walked
over to Dark and in a stage whisper said: "Alvin, I'm sorry. I never would
have stayed out late if I'd known Mr. Finley was coming."
wants to talk to you," interrupted Dark. Finley demanded an immediate
retraction of the players' statement. Aker refused, saying that he had acted as
the players' representative and had obeyed their unanimous vote. At 4:40—or
eight and a half hours after the meeting began—Finley left, saying he was going
out to get a cup of coffee, and Dark returned to his room, convinced he was out
of a job. An hour later he received confirmation.
have decided to make a change," came the familiar voice.
later, Dark rode to D.C. Stadium and talked to the players. He left them with
tears in his eyes, unable to finish. The players held another meeting, and Aker
said: "Some of you guys are young. You've got a lot of years ahead of you.
If you want to back out, nobody will object." Nobody backed out. Instead
the players issued a second statement expressing a "deep personal" loss
over the firing of Dark and concluding: "We feel this action is the result
of the players' public statement of August 19th."
morning Finley read that and a statement in the press by Harrelson that said:
"Finley is a menace to baseball." Charlie immediately phoned his first
is Charlie. Did you say those things?"
everything except that you were a menace," replied Harrelson. "What I
actually said to the reporter was that I thought your actions of the last few
days were bad for baseball."
When Finley asked
him what might happen if he were given his release, Harrelson said, "I'd
probably have a lot of trouble getting another job."
"Draw up a
retraction and I'll call you back," Finley said.
working on a retraction when he received a second call from Finley. He had been
released. That night, while Harrelson was packing, Luke Appling, the new
manager, hinted that Finley might be interested in retaining him. Harrelson
said, "No, thanks." By now, he was aware of his great bargaining
position. The Red Sox, the White Sox, the Twins and the Tigers had all called
him, and he hadn't received that much attention since he was undisputed
arm-wrestling champion of the American League. He selected the Red Sox, who
reportedly agreed to pay him $75,000 in bonus and salary.