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Roland Glen Fingers was born on August 25, 1946, in Steubenville, Ohio. He started in the majors with the Oakland Athletics as a starting pitcher in 1969. He started the season as a starter for the 69, 70 and 71 seasons, but finished all three in the bullpen. Rollie turned into a full-time reliever in 72, winning 11 games and saving 21, leading the A's to the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. In game 7, Fingers managed to get out of a sticky situation in the 8th inning. The bases were full of Reds with one out in the inning. Rollie managed to preserve a 3-2 victory for the Athletics by using is nasty sinker and wicked slider.

On September 28, 1975, Rollie managed to finish out the first four-pitcher no-hitter in baseball history. He worked with Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott and Paul Lindblad to blank the then California Angels 5-0. In the World Series he would continue where he left off in 1972. He got the first win for the A's in the series and the save for the other three, as the A's beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in another all California series.

Rollie, a free agent after the 1976 season, took part in the first mass-market free-agent draft, held at The Plaza Hotel in New York City that includes such players as Reggie Jackson, Willie McCovey, Don Baylor, Don Gullett and Gene Tenace. A month later, Rollie signed with the San Diego Padres.

On December 8, 1980, Rollie was one of the key players in an 11 player trade between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Padres. However, Rollie would not be in a Cardinal uniform for very long. Four days later, he was traded again, this time to the Milwaukee Brewers as part of a seven player trade. Rollie, and another pitcher traded from the Cards to the Brew Crew, Pete Vuckovich, would go on to win the Cy Young award in 81 and 82, respectively.

Rollie would prove to the Padres that he was not past his prime in the early 80's, as they had thought. Even though Mike Schmidt hit the game-winning home run off of Fingers in the all-star game that year, Rollie went on to have a stellar season. He finished the ‘81 season with 28 saves and a 1.04 era! This was good enough to net Rollie both the Cy Young, and edge out the base stealing phenom that is Rickey Henderson in the running for the American League MVP award. This marked the first time a relief pitcher had ever won the AL MVP, not to mention the MVP and the Cy Young award in the same season. The end of the following season marked another first for Major League Baseball and for Rollie Fingers. On August 21, 1982 he chalked up his 300th career save, the first player to reach that milestone.

Just about two years later, Rollie ran into problems with his back. He had to undergo surgery on his back to alleviate a herniated disk. He missed the last month of the 1984 season. However, that year the MVP went to Willie Hernandez, another relief pitcher. He beat out Kent Hrbek, Dan Quisenberry and Tony Armas, who lead the AL in home runs and RBI, putting him in league with another Boston Red Sox star, Ted Williams as the only players to do so and not win the MVP award.

On November 14 1985, the Brewers released Rollie Fingers, now 39 years old. He had a chance to sign with the Cincinnati Reds, the team he helped defeat in the 72 fall classic. In a change from modern day sport stars, Rollie's quarrel with the Reds had nothing to do with the amount of money he'd get paid, nor special bonuses for being an MVP or All-star. Instead, his beef was with the Reds' facial hair policy, which would require Rollie to shave off his trademark handlebar mustache. Rollie did not take them up on their offer.

On August 2, 1992, Rollie Fingers, along with Bill McGowen, Halk Newhouser and Tom Seaver were inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. The unfortunately ineligible Pete Rose, perhaps one of the best hitters to play the game, received 41 write-in votes. Interestingly enough, Rollie had a losing record, 114 wins to 118 losses, when he was elected to the Hall of Fame. He was the first pitcher with a losing record to be elected since the late Satchel Paige, who, while awesome in the Negro Leagues, had a major league record of 28-31. Then again, Paige was 42 years old when he made his MLB debut.

Rollie Fingers will always be known for his handlebar mustache, which marks him as one of the most recognizable baseball players. It was grown in an effort to force the removal of Reggie Jackson's beard, but stayed when Charlie Finley offered $300 to any Oakland A's player who grew a mustache by Father's Day, 1972. Rollie made appearances in 16 World Series games, with an ERA of 1.35, and lead the A's to 5 division titles, 3 championship series' and 3 World Series'. Rollie was a 7 time All-Star but did not play in 1975.

Statistics:

Number: 34
Position: Relief Pitcher
Bats: right
Throws: right
Year Tm   W   L   G   GS  CG SHO SV   IP     H   ER   HR  BB   SO   ERA 
1968 OAK   0   0   1   0   0   0  0    1.3    4    4   1    1    0 27.00  
1969 OAK   6   7  60   8   1   1 12  119.0  116   49  13   41   61  3.71  
1970 OAK   7   9  45  19   1   0  2  148.0  137   60  13   48   79  3.65  
1971 OAK   4   6  48   8   2   1 17  129.3   94   43  14   30   98  2.99  
1972 OAK  11   9  65   0   0   0 21  111.3   85   31   8   32  113  2.51  
1973 OAK   7   8  62   2   0   0 22  126.7  107   27   5   39  110  1.92  
1974 OAK   9   5  76   0   0   0 18  119.0  104   35   5   29   95  2.65  
1975 OAK  10   6  75   0   0   0 24  126.7   95   42  13   33  115  2.98  
1976 OAK  13  11  70   0   0   0 20  134.7  118   37   3   40  113  2.47  
1977 SDP   8   9  78   0   0   0 35  132.3  123   44  12   36  113  2.99 
1978 SDP   6  13  67   0   0   0 37  107.3   84   30   4   29   72  2.52 
1979 SDP   9   9  54   0   0   0 13   83.7   91   42   7   37   65  4.52 
1980 SDP  11   9  66   0   0   0 23  103.0  101   32   3   32   69  2.80 
1981 MIL   6   3  47   0   0   0 28   78.0   55    9   3   13   61  1.04 
1982 MIL   5   6  50   0   0   0 29   79.7   63   23   5   20   71  2.60 
1984 MIL   1   2  33   0   0   0 23   46.0   38   10   5   13   40  1.96 
1985 MIL   1   6  47   0   0   0 17   55.3   59   31   9   19   24  5.04 

Career Totals:  W   L   G   GS  CG SHO  SV   IP     H    ER   HR  BB   SO    ERA 
               114 118 944  37   4  2  341 1701.3 1474  549  123 492  1299  2.90

A copy of Rollie's autograph can be found here: http://www.baseball-almanac.com/autoweek/auto18.shtml


Hall of Fame index
Rick Ferrell | Carlton Fisk


sources:
http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers_and_honorees/hofer_bios/fingers_rollie.htm
http://www.baseball-reference.com/f/fingero01.shtml
http://www.pubdim.net/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/F/Fingers_Rollie.stm

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