Packed with a preponderance of radicals, renegades and free spirits, the Oakland Athletics of the 1970’s were baseball’s greatest show on earth. However, the star of the show, unequivocally, was owner Charlie O. Finley. Always front and center, Finley’s inescapable presence made the games almost incidental.
The definitive micro manager, Charlie O. was involved in ALL aspects of the business, from drafts, trades and game strategy to yearbook copy, press room menus, and uniform designs. If fact, even injuries were subject to his approval before a player could go on the disabled list. He also possessed a talent for alienating everyone he dealt with. When he wanted to make his right fielder Hank Bauer his new manager he had the P.A. announcer say: "Hank Bauer your playing days are over. You have been named manager of the Kansas City A's."
In addition to being a being a lighting rod for outrage, Finley was also an innovator. He promoted orange baseballs and bases and was instrumental in bringing about the designated hitter and World Series night games.
Most importantly, Finley knew how to acquire talented players who could play together well and had a fierce desire to win. The result being that, from 1971-75, Oakland captured five consecutive division flags and three straight World Series titles.
After the franchise’s first title in 1972, Finley briefly shed his miserly reputation and presented the players with “owner-sized” World Series trophies, produced by Jostens, in addition to the standard issues smaller versions, produced by Balfour (However, in 1973-74 the players had to pay out of pocket if they desired the super-size upgrade).
On offer here is the “owner-size” World Series trophy presented to pitcher Darold Knowles, a former All-Star and key member of all three of Oakland’s championship squads.
Standing twenty-four inches (24") tall, measuring thirteen inches (13") in diameter, and weighing an incredible twenty-five pounds (25 lbs.), the massive stature and incredible workmanship of this trophy cannot be overstated.
Equally brilliant, the trophy’s impressive design includes twenty-four team flags (one for each Major League franchise), a gold colored baseball engraved with “1972”, which sits inside on a circular band that is topped with a crown. The weighty, circular black base displays enamel World Series press pin tops for the victorious A’s and runner up Reds, a green plaque with the scores of the games, and a gold band which is inscribed with “Oakland A’s 1972 World Champions” plus the members of the entire ball club.
This trophy comes complete with its original shipping crate. The tank-like wooden repository measures 15" x 14" x 27" and is affixed with the original mailing labels from the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum to Darold Knowles. It should be observed that the trophy and crate are 100% original and only a handful have ever been offered for public sale.
This lot includes photos of Knowles with the trophy and a letter of provenance, all signed by Knowles. Please note: Due to the size and/or weight of this lot, the cost of shipping may be substantial.