Thursday, February 2, 2012

Parade of Ridiculousness: The 'Best Interests of Baseball'

Working on my recent Joe Rudi DAHOF Top 100 post reminded me about the June 1976 "deal" that Oakland owner Charlie Finley made with the Red Sox. If you don't know the story: Charlie O saw the new world of baseball free agency emerging... and didn’t like it. In a prehistoric version of the modern day "fire sale"* he sent two of his star players, Rollie Fingers and Joe Rudi to Boston for $1M each.

The deal was voided by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who invoked the “best interests of baseball” clause as justification. Finley was pissed and called Kuhn "the village idiot" and sued MLB, but lost the case when the court ruled that the commissioner had the authority to determine what is in the best interest of baseball.

Rudi and Fingers would leave Oakland and Charlie after the ’76 season, signing big free agent deals with California and San Diego respectively.

Later that same night, Finley also "sold" Vida Blue to the Yankees for $1.5M. Stay tuned for a Vida/Yankees 1976 card.


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