Krausse hadn't been having a good year. In 1966 he had won 14 games, his alltime high, but in 1967 he was struggling. Airplane rides had nothing to do with it.
I said, "Charlie, I know nothing about this. Where'd you get it? If I suspend him without knowing why, he can sue me and you and everybody."
Someone traveling with the A's party had told Finley the story. Charlie was told that a woman with a child had been on the plane and that Krausse had used "deplorable language," and the woman had written him about it.
But what they had failed to take into consideration was that Lew Krausse had just lost his mother. You never know what's going on in a man's personal life when he's having trouble professionally.
Charlie was usually very good about things like that. If one of his boys was in trouble, he'd come to the rescue—with money, with some kind of help. But evidently the reports he had received were different from my impressions.
I said, "Charlie, you can't fine and suspend him, you just can't do it." I had talked with some of the players. They were just as likely to swear the other way. Ken Harrelson was always in the middle of that kind of thing and he said it didn't happen. "Skip," he told me, "Lew didn't do anything." So I told Charlie I couldn't go along with him.
"I'm coming to town," he said.
Lew had been left back in Kansas City, so rumors were flying. That morning at the park in Washington the players learned of Charlie's intentions. After the game Jack Aker, the player representative, and Harrelson and a couple others came into my room. Harrelson said they were going to put out a statement against Finley.
I said, "All right, but it might get you in trouble. Before you do let me see what you write." Jack Aker was writing it on a little piece of paper. They were all anxious to defend Krausse, and in one sense this was good. They were a united bunch of guys. They were mostly kids, 19 and 22 and 25 years old, and they knew someday they were going to be champions. It was great for a manager to see.
About 7 p.m., three hours after his call, Charlie was in Washington. We talked about the situation some more, and he said, "Alvin, I'm going to have to let you go. I want my manager to back me on this, and you're not doing it."