No. 156 Rollie Fingers (Number 5 Relief Pitcher)

At one time Bill James said Fingers didn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, but later did a formula that had him as the second-best relief pitcher of all time behind Mariano Rivera. I used the results of that formula as part of my formula and Fingers finished fifth, which might be more pleasing to Bill. See it is a matter of how you look at things.

Fingers was one of the few relief pitchers to win an MVP award. The interesting thing about him was from 1974 to 1992 he was mentioned in the MVP voting 7 of 9 years. That is impressive. This started in the last season he helped pitch the A’s to their third straight World Series win. In the three years he pitched in 16 of 19 World Series games played. He missed pitching in one World Series game a year. He did well with an ERA of 1.35 in the three World Series and getting to 2 saves in each of the 3 series. Considering that the first two series went 7 games he was an instrumental part of winning those two series.

In the 1974 Series the A’s won in 5 games, but Fingers pitched 9.1 innings in relief. The team pitched only 44 innings in the Series, so Fingers itched over 20 percent of the team’s innings. He got the win in game one pitching 4.1 innings in relief and giving up only one run. He also finished the last three games of the Series helping the A’s win their third title in a row.

In 1972 Reggie Jackson came into spring training with a mustache. Some of the other guys grew some just to be contrary figuring A’s owner Charlie Finley would have them shave the mustaches off. Instead Finley offered $300 to every player who had a mustache on opening day. A lot of players then grew mustaches. Rollie Fingers went all out and grew a handlebar mustache. My brother and I agreed it was our favorite and loved it when Fingers came out to pitch. Who knows, that mustache probably got him a couple of Hall of Fame votes.

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