Friday, February 27, 2015
no. 384 - rollie fingers
Who is the man: Rollie Fingers started what would wind up being a career-record 19 games for the A's in 1970. But he was entering a pivotal year when this card was issued. By the end of 1971, Fingers was an established late-innings reliever.
Can ya dig it: That photo is very green.
Right on: Fingers without a handlebar mustache is always wrong.
You see that cat Fingers is a bad mother: Fingers, along with '70s pitchers like Sparky Lyle, helped create the role of the closer as we know it now. When Fingers was moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen, he did not return to the rotation after finding success as a reliever. He remained a reliever. That was a new concept, and he rode that new concept to the Hall of Fame.
Shut your mouth: The Reds offered Fingers a contract to pitch in 1986 after he was released by the Brewers, but the Reds' "no facial hair" policy scrapped that. Fingers told the Reds GM, "You tell (owner) Marge Schott to shave her Saint Bernard and I'll shave my mustache."
No one understands him but his woman: Fingers got into a locker room fight with fellow A's pitcher John "Blue Moon" Odom just before the 1974 World Series. Odom made a comment about Fingers' wife, touching off a grappling session in which Odom tackled Fingers, sending him backward into a shopping cart where he hit the back of his head on a metal hook on a locker. Fingers needed six stitches. But he played in the Series, helped the A's to their third straight championship, and Fingers and his wife, Jill, appeared in the victory parade.
(A word about the back): Fingers' father was George Fingers. According to baseball-reference.com, Fingers played in 1938 for the Williamson Colts, a Class D team. Although he's not listed on the roster that's supplied for that team, a player on that team was Stan Musial.