From SABR member Jason Turbow at The National Pastime Museum on July 24, 2017:
When Charles O. Finley bought the Kansas City Athletics in 1960, he was ambitious, energetic, and focused, but he was not a miracle worker. Not yet, anyway. The last-place club he acquired actually managed to fall in the standings, dropping from eighth place to ninth thanks to the introduction of two teams, the Angels and the Twins, to the American League. Even that indignity, however, would be superseded in 1964, when the Athletics tumbled to 105 losses, finishing a whopping 42 games behind the league champion Yankees.
It was impossible to note at the time, but that 1964 team showed the first vestiges of the titles that would be won in the decade to follow. The roster included rookies Campy Campaneris, Dick Green, and Dave Duncan, as well as a 19-year-old with a wondrous sinkerball named Blue Moon Odom. Those players represented the first guard of the Swingin’ A’s to come, but were at that point too raw to be much good. Kansas City struggled with low attendance, barely scraping 500,000, and Finley grew desperate for solutions. Without the short-term ability to fix the product on the field, he exerted his influence in other ways.
Monte Moore had been the A’s lead broadcaster since 1962, and was good enough for Finley to keep him on when the team moved to Oakland in 1968 (and right on through to 1980). Quality, however, wasn’t the issue. Mostly, Finley wanted attention. His quick fix was Betty Caywood.
Originally published: July 24, 2017. Last Updated: July 24, 2017.