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The K.P. Wee Podcast

Jan 6, 2022

This episode of The K.P. Wee Podcast features an author whose last name immediately calls up a colorful baseball dynasty like no other. In her book, "Finley Ball: How Two Baseball Outsiders Turned the Oakland A's into a Dynasty and Changed the Game Forever," Nancy Finley traces the team’s journey from perennial loser in Kansas City to World Championship glory days built on strategies and stunts deployed by her father Carl and his cousin Charlie Finley, the franchise’s larger-than-life owner.

Nancy shares front-seat recollections about Oakland’s unique path to powerhouse heights in the 1970s and the characters who shaped – and transformed – the sport of baseball. Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Vida Blue are just a few of the legendary names that captured the nation’s attention and cemented the Finley family’s winning legacy. 

Lovingly and diligently researched, this book – the first of what will ultimately be two volumes – tells the story of how Charlie Finley bought the Kansas City A’s franchise in 1960, when he was an insurance businessman and pro sports outsider. With a showman’s instincts, Charlie brought in his cousin Carl as a hands-on, savvy right-hand man. Together they moved the team from Kansas City to Oakland, pioneering a unique approach to recruiting talent that ultimately netted three straight World Series victories in 1972, 1973 and 1974. 

Nancy shares with K.P. details about the collaboration between cousins, her early memories of team life and her hopes that one day both Charlie Finley and her dad, the lesser-known but no-less-pivotal Carl will find their rightful places at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

Click here to purchase either a print or audible version of “Finley Ball: How Two Baseball Outsiders Turned the Oakland A’s into a Dynasty and Changed the Game Forever.” You can also learn much more about the legendary Oakland Athletics at Nancy’s fascinating archival website:


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  • (1:00): K.P. introduces Nancy Finley, niece of legendary Oakland Athletics owner Charlie Finley. 
  • (3:28): The show starts off with background on Nancy’s father Carl, a lesser known but still pivotal figure in the history of the Oakland A’s. She shares anecdotes about the relationship between the Finley cousins, whose styles and career paths were a study in contrasts.
  • (07:29): About how and when Charlie established the A’s in California, where he also had a professional hockey team – a short-lived venture that Carl was not onboard with helping to manage!
  • (10:45): Nancy recounts the first time that she heard Reggie Jackson and Vida Blue were joining the A’s, back in 1971, a foundational move for what would become a dynasty.
  • (11:47): K.P. asks Nancy for her thoughts about a quote from Catfish Hunter, who credited Charlie with being a sports visionary, if also known as a micro-manager.



  • (17:30): Winnowing down her book was a challenge for Nancy, who ultimately had to cut it by 40 percent. She did copious, diligent research and learned many things she never knew – too much to include it all in a single volume. Stay tuned for Part II!


  • (19:35): Nancy offers a peek into where she’s heading with the second part of the Athletics’ history and path to dynasty. 
  • (20:53): K.P. footnotes Nancy’s reference to Mike Andrews, whose errors in a World Series game were perceived as costing him his job. Nancy fleshes out the backstory.
  • (22:00): Growing up with the A’s: Nancy could write an entire book dedicated solely to her experiences attending World Series games, including two Game 7s. She was also instrumental in helping out with ticket sales and allotments. 
  • (26:11): Nancy recalls unsettling times in the mid-1970s, when Charlie was targeted for kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Army (the radical underground group that kidnapped Patty Hearst). Fortunately, his peripatetic lifestyle kept him out of reach!
  • (26:50): About Alvin Dark, a former professional shortstop who managed Oakland in the mid-1970s (among many other teams over the years).
  • (28:00): About perceptions of the A’s as an underdog team and other thoughts on play-off and World Series showings.
  • (29:37): Nancy recollects the special relationship between her father and Billy Martin, offering a glimpse into his personality and unique managerial style. Charlie was very hands-off, which Nancy believes was due to Carl’s firm advice.
  • (31:40): The story of how MC Hammer – or Stanley Burrell, as he was known locally in his hometown – came to perform at the Oakland Coliseum at the suggestion of Nancy’s dad, who made it happen.
  • (35:10): Nancy’s father kept her low-visibility during the height of the A’s dynasty because kidnapping threats were regularly called into the front office.
  • (35:50): About gimmicks, brainstorms and other Charlie Finley innovations.
  • (38:55): What Nancy would like readers to take away from “Finley Ball”: Fans need to keep perspective, even when their teams are losing. Also, it all depends neither solely on stats nor instincts; it should be a mixture of both.
  • (41:00): Nancy shares some history about the Kansas City Athletics’ multiple trades to the Yankees in the 1950s.
  • (43:05): About the audio version of Nancy’s book, which is available along with the hardcover book here. She’s also reachable via email through the website
  • (45:05): K.P. observes that Carl deserves a spot in the Athletics Hall of Fame, right alongside Charlie, the cousin whose fortunes and storied team Carl was so instrumental in shaping.




  • (04:55): “Charlie bounced all ideas off of Dad. He was on the phone with Dad every morning, early … They would talk about ideas.”
  • (12:40): “Charlie could just watch a game and know who should be playing what. Yes, people say he micro-managed but at the same time, if you own a team, you want it to win.”
  • (16:40): “I just feel that if you don’t step up and want respect for your family, people will just continue piling it on.”
  • (18:50): “I don’t like name calling. If you’re going to say someone is something, then you’ve got to prove it.”
  • (25:32): “We had to pay for World Series tickets because it’s not like being an owner. It comes out of the Major League.”
  • (36:45): “I heard someone say that (the A’s) ‘inflicted’ things on people.” 
  • (39:58): “Things need to stay in perspective. Fans need to know that a team is trying its best to win and that that’s the goal they all have.”
  • (44:35): “Dad needs to be inducted (into the Baseball Hall of Fame). Charlie will be, but I want to make sure that dad gets in there too.”



About K.P. Wee: 

K.P. Wee is the author of multiple books and a regular contributor to sports radio programs and websites. In addition to hosting The K.P. Wee Podcast, he also enjoys writing sports and psychological fiction with a twist of romance. He spent a decade working as a program developer and instructor for a private school before joining the Vancouver Canadians baseball club’s media relations department. 


You can find out more about books by K.P. Wee here.

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Additional episodes of the K.P. Wee Podcast are available here.