Dec. 18: Charlie, Oh!
DECEMBER 18, 1973 | NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK – The shenanigans of one time Oakland A’s owner Charlie O. Finley were entertaining even during the offseason – though not to many of those closest to him. Finley’s manager, at the helm when the A’s won two World Series in a row, did the unthinkable this offseason – Dick Williams resigned. And on this date in 1973 Williams was named manager of the New York Yankees. Oakland Tribune sportswriter Jack Rux reported in the next day’s paper that Charlie Finley “gave no printable response” when asked for reaction to Williams leaving for New York.
Finley filed suit in federal court in San Francisco to prevent Williams from being George Steinbrenner‘s first manager, claiming that Williams was under contract to him for 1974 and 1975. Rather than deal with the hassle the Yankees hired Bill Virdon. And rather than deal with Finley anymore, Williams didn’t manager anywhere, at least at the start of the ’74 season (Finley finally gave the California Angels permission to talk to Williams about becoming their manager in mid-season, which he did).
But why would a manager leave a team he had won two World Series with? Williams, a firey personality himself, had enough of the A’s owner’s meddling. In particular, Williams was upset with Finley’s public humiliation of A’s second baseman Mike Andrews who he fired after he made a couple errors during the ’73 World Series. Andrews was quickly reinstated by Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, but Dick Williams was gone.
Despite the distractions and a new manager, Alvin Dark, the A’s won a third consecutive World Series in 1974.
Oakland Tribune, December 19, 1973, By Jack Rux
Oakland A’s managers