By Dan DeNeve
Spring is here and that means it is baseball season. This baseball publishing season seems to be a slower than previous springs. However, a new title that all baseball fans should read is Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s by Jason Turbow. You don’t have to be an A’s fan to like this book and just from a business standpoint, it makes for excellent reading.
Either way, this book will have you surprised, angry, sad and in stitches as Turbow recounts the Oakland A’s dynasty of the early ‘70s. For example, owner Charlie Finley’s frugality knew no bounds. At one time, the A’s only radio station was UC Berkeley’s student-run station, meaning only people within 10-15 miles of the campus could hear games. Furthermore, the A’s often operated with just a skeleton front office crew made up mostly of family. In addition, the defending World Series champions often played in front of fewer than 4,000 fans.
While sometimes overly generous, Finley always reminded everyone who was in control. While he gets blamed often for free agency, it was going to happen with or without Finley. He owned a team full of all-stars, including Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Vida Blue and was too cheap to pay them what they wanted. These players would have sought out the best deal no matter what team they played for. Many of these players were strong individuals who were not going to sit back and take whatever Finley was offering.
At the end of the book there is a section with one-page recaps of the players and what they are doing now.
This book is a great baseball read that will take you back to a colorful time of zaniness and upheaval in baseball. The Dana Point Library owns a copy.
The Seaside Book Club meets at the Dana Point Library every fourth Monday of the month at 10:30 a.m. This month’s novel is The Rainbow Comes and Goes. Registration is not required. For a list of featured titles, call the library at 949.496.5517. Copies of the current title are available at the library service desk.