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We all know Charlie Finley, owner of the Oakland A’s franchise from 1960-1981, was as colorful an owner as any Major League Baseball has ever seen.
Recently I heard about this story about Charlie Finley, that I found interesting about his “affection” for the dimensions in the Old Yankee Stadium.
From my main source of everything… Wikipedia (so I know it must be true)……
After supposedly being told by manager Ed Lopat about the Yankees’ success being attributable to the dimensions of Yankee Stadium, he built the “K.C. Pennant Porch” in right field, which brought the right field fence in Kansas City Municipal Stadium to match Yankee Stadium’s dimensions exactly, just 296 feet from home plate. However, a rule passed in 1958 held that no (new or renovated) major-league fence could be closer than 325 feet, so league officials forced Finley to move the fences back after two exhibition games. The A’s owner then ordered a white line to be painted on the field at the original “Pennant Porch” distance, and told the public address announcer to announce “That would have been a home run in Yankee Stadium” whenever a fly ball was hit past that line but short of the fence. The practice was quickly abandoned after the announcer was calling more “would-be” home runs for the opposition than the A’s.
That’s the sort of antics that would even make Mark Cuban tip his cap.
A salute to Charlie Finley… A man who once proposed that the Major Leagues use orange baseballs.
A man who created the idea of a mechanical groundhog behind home plate that would bring the umpires new baseballs- and used it in a few spring training games.
The man who discovered MC Hammer, when he hired him as a ball boy.
Yet oddly one of the most successful owners in baseball history.