This show is being added to the podcast universe during the 2021 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros. While I fear isolating a financial-based audience, I needed to rationalize my way into doing a baseball-related show. Since nearly every business reader I know has read Moneyball, why not do a show based on a great book written by Nancy Finley entitled Finley Ball? Expect three big business takeaways from this interview.
Who is Nancy Finley?
Nancy Finley is the daughter of Carl Finley who was the V.P. of Baseball Operations and GM for her uncle, Charlie Finley for about 20 years. While Nancy got to roam the stadium before and during games, she was eventually put to work in Oakland helping her dad with ticket sales, ticket discounts, and the distribution of playoff and World Series tickets.
Today, she is the content curator behind the site, Oakland Athletic History.
- A kid’s dream growing up around the game
- Charles Oscar Finley – he was an outsider
- A very rough start in Kansas City
- Baseball and Charlie’s innovation and creativity
- Finley wanted to win
- The Dynasty
- Moneyball vs Finley Ball
Three Major League Ideas After Reading Finley Ball
- Disruption occurs generally from outsiders. Don’t expect changes in a so-so product from insiders. Charlie Finley loved the gimmicks – petting zoos, mascotts, facial hair, bright uniforms, colored baseballs, concerts, and eliminating the pitcher from hitting. But he did it for one reason–to make the game fun for the fans. Again, he was an outsider who influenced the game.
- Where there is a visionary owner, there is always a right-hand person working behind the scenes to bring the dream to reality. Meet Carl Finley. Humble, smart, hard worker. And he worked for peanuts. Yet, he was instrumental in player contracts, leases, the big move to Oakland, and so much more. Charlie needed Carl. But without Charlie’s vision, Carl doesn’t have a mission. Both needed each other.
- There is no Moneyball vs Finley Ball. Business people are funny. We hear a great idea and we stampede toward it while turning our backs on foundational concepts that have worked in the past. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. But there are grains of truth to that opinion. Have we tilted way to far toward analytics? In the Finley Ball era, analytics were simple. Yet, I can count three world championships in succession during Finley Ball. It’s not an either-or discussion. It’s both.
Mark’s Other Baseball Pick
I love the game, and I could easily pig out on baseball books. However, I only allow myself about two baseball titles a year. I know, seems harsh. But this discipline results in me finding winners and hidden gems.
This year, I read two baseball-related books back to back. I loved Finley Ball because it was story-driven seen through the eyes of a young girl growing up around the game who adored her father and famous uncle.
Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir is a poignant story about a young girl who idolizes her dad and the game that builds a bond between them throughout the years – baseball, and more specifically, the Brooklyn Dodgers before they moved to Los Angeles. I give the story 5 stars.