Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball


Last December in this site right
after the A’S traded Mark Mulder
I wrote about the current A’S
ownership selling the team.
Today (1/7/05)all Bay Area
newspapers are writting
about that.

By Amaury Pi-GonzálezTHE FINLEY YEARS:
When I first started broadcasting the Oakland
Athletics games in Spanish language radio back
in the mid-1970s I remember when I was
negotiating with a radio station and Mr.Charles
O’Finley excentrict owner of the Oakland
A’S and the man that brought the A’S
from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968 with
Charlie O, The Mule and everything else
including his cousin Carl Finley.

In the negotiating process of acquiring
the broadcast rights for a local station
then KOFY 1050 AM 100% Spanish
format,today The Ticket 1050 AM I
remember after a few letters to
Mr. Charlie O’Finley one time prior
to an A’S game in Oakland I was
covering for El Mundo News of
Oakland that Carl Finley(cousin
of Charlie and basically in charge
of the PR and Media for the A’S)
approached in the Press Box
and told me:
“Maury I just spoke with Charlie
and he told me you can go ahead,
you have permission to broadcast
the games in Mexican”

I remember responding to Carl:
“That’s great Carl, but please when
you speak to Charlie again can you
let him know that Mexican is not a
language but a nationality” I kept
“…And you might as well ask him if
he is doing the A’S English broadcast in
American ..or the Queens English”

Carl(God Blesss his heart and may he rest
in peace) kind of smile at me and had a
bewildered look in his face.

Folks, that is the way the first Oakland A’S
owner conducted business back in the
1970s, Believe It Or Not. True. I think
their front office was made of about
8 people(mostly Finley family members)
and the incoming mail at the front office
was sorted in-between the flags of the
3 World Series Trophies the A’S had
won in the early 1970s. There were no
special cases to keep the trophies.
I remember the Media Guide had maybe
a total of 40 pages. Some teams Media
Guides today resemble Bibles, some
are even printed in two languages and
others have 400 or 500 pages and are
sold to the regular public.

We have to give Finley his due, he
still the only owner in Bay Area history
that has put a team together to win
three consecutive World Series
1972-73-74. Yes, Charlie was eccentric,
not politically correct and in so many
ways ignorant. But he knew the game
of baseball and he knew what he
wanted on the field. And he was
a businessman indeed.
He sold the team basically because
he knew he could not compete
by paying players millions and
millions on dollars in salaries and
thought he could not compete
in the then new, Free Agent market.
I’ve got more anecdotes about the
Finley years but I will not bore you
with them here(maybe some other
time). Maybe when I write my
book I will list them all, some are
By the way, Finley sold the A’S
for $35 million. Today Carlos
Beltrán is asking for 10 years
$200 million contract. Yes, things
have changed in baseball…
I do miss owners like Finley, that
really follow their team, attend most
games. A lot of owners today
are not baseball fans, they just
buy teams to have another
property. We are lucky here
in the Bay Area in that regard
Lurie,Magowan these are all
people that love the game and
most of the time are in town
watching their teams play.

When Walter Haas and family bought
the A’S, 1979-1980 I remember the
left fielder, a young kid with a lot
of speed, Rickey Henderson was
a rookie. They had the first ever
“million dollar outfield” Henderson,
Dwyane Murphy(CF)and Venezuelan
Antonio(Tony)Armas in right field,
but not much after that. Yet with
the Haas leadership the team
developed talent like McGwire,Canseco,
Dave Henderson, Bob Welch and
other that eventually made the
A’S under Tony LaRussa the envy
of the American League going
to three consecutive World Series
in 1988-89-90 and winning one,
the Earthquake Series of ’89 against
the Giants.
The A’S had a very strong front
office and great leadership then
with people like Sandy Alderson
today one of the top people at
Major League Baseball and
Andy Dolich, who won a few
Cleo Awards for creativity
and excellence in commercials.
This was an organization that knew
exactly what they wanted. I remember
talking with team President then
Roy Eisenhardt about what he
wanted to do. They hire one of
the real marketing geniuses in
Andy Dolich who started marketing
campaign like “Billy Ball” under
manager Billy Martin. The Oakland
Coliseum was ‘the place to be’
during the 1980s and the Oakland
A’S where as proud as ever.
the Bash Brothers(McGwire-Canseco).
Being part of the history of that
era I have great memories,
and 3 rings to go along with it.
Nobody really complained much
about needing a new ballpark,
because the team was in the
World Series with frequency
and the other team played in
a toilet bowl called Candlestick
Park. But like a good friend of
mine always tells me “things change”
and they did. The Giants built
gorgeous Pac Bell/SBC Park
and since then the A’S have
not made it to another World
Series and the Athletics have
had some success but have not
won a ring. No doubt the that
the building of the new Giants
ballpark by the Bay accelerated
the need for a new ballpark for
the Oakland Athletics. That is
the world we live in, you need
luxury boxes, you need a park
that has all the ammenities of
an Amusement Park and then
you also have to win on the
field, at least here in the Bay
Area. But overall the Haas
years were very good for the
A’S and their fans.
During the All-Star Game that
took place in Oakland I was
named part of the Oakland
A’S Organizing Clout Committee
and it all looked wonderdul
in the world of the A’S.
The A’S were king those
days, Oakland was proud
to be associated with the A’S.
The A’S had a speakers
bureau(which I was part of)
the A’S front office spread the
word about the Athletics and
baseball in the Bay Area,
it was a dynamic and fun
team to be around.
Last time I spoke with Andy
Dolich he was an executive
with an NBA team.

For many fans, the last few
years have turned into tears.
I am not a poet, but the current
ownership of the A’S made a
great move when they signed
Billy Beane to be their GM
and he has put together
an extremely successful
team. This past December,
Beane make the most daring
moves of his career and only
time will tell if the young talent
he got for Hudson and Mulder
are the talent that can keep
the A’S on top of the American
League West.
There is no doubt these A’S
team have been interesting
teams. This year after the
moves (up-to-today)it looks
like they are going to have
to manufacture runs, they
only have one authentic
slugger, Eric Chávez and
the outfield with Byrnes
Kotsay and Swisher is not
a powerful outfield when it
comes to hitting home runs
and driving in runs. If
Crosby can hit 35 or more
Home Runs and Hatteberg
and Durazo can be around
30 then they can be
a powerful team. But Beane
built this team with pitching
and althought they should
have a better bullpen, still
their new starting rotation
(except Zito) is not yet
established. I think Ken Macha
would have to really manage
in 2005.

Lewis Wolff is the co-founder
and chairman of Maritz,Wolff and
Company, a privately held hotel
investment group that acquires
top luxury urban and resort
hotels and properties. Founded
in 1994 with the purchase of the
Ritz Carlton in St Louis his
company’s holding exceed
$1.4 billion. He is also
a former mayority owner
of the St Louis Blues and
the Golden State Warriors.
Wolff was hired in 2003
by the Athletics to be their
Vice President of venue
According to the published
reports the A’S have a value
of between $170 to $200

According to all reports he has
90 days window to finalize
a deal to buy the Oakland A’S
(that would make it around
April 1 or so). A local TV
station reported that Wolff
has agreed in principle to
buy the A’S and quoted
him saying: “I like to get
it done immediately,but
dealing with Major League
Baseball speed is very

I am sure this is in the
category of TO BE CONTINUED…


1 Anonymous { 01.08.05 at 1:50 am }

Good knowledge, Amaury. I heard how Finley conducted his business with very few staff. But Finley’s human resource philosophy didn’t do any good for Walter Hass, who revamped the organization from scratch when he purchased the team in the early 1980’s. Mr. Hass inherited a talent-sapped farm system with no scouts. As one A’s former scout said, “Everything that cost, he [Finley] got rid of.” Finley bolted and left the A’s franchise a mess.


2 naturalcool { 06.15.07 at 9:35 pm }

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