Throughout his career, Rollie Fingers was known as one of the most dominant relief pitchers in the Major Leagues. Pitching for the Oakland Athletics (1968–76), San Diego Padres (1977–80) and Milwaukee Brewers (1981–85), the 7-time All-Star would go on to win the American League Cy Young and MVP awards in 1981, establishing himself as perhaps the greatest closer in the game's history up to that point. He would ultimately follow in the footsteps of Hoyt Wilhelm and become only the second reliever to be inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, gaining election in 1992. Fingers is also one of only a few MLB players to have his number retired by more than one club (Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers).
I completed this sketch card in October 2011.
10 random facts about Rollie Fingers:
- He was a starter throughout his minor league career and for his first 19 Major League games before being converted to a reliever.
- A member of 3 consecutive World Series-winning teams with the Oakland A's in the early 1970s, Fingers would win the 1974 World Series MVP Award with one win and two saves for the A's.
- His father, George Fingers, played minor league baseball and roomed with Hall of Famer Stan Musial.
- Noted for his handlebar mustache, Fingers initially grew it in order to receive a $300 bonus from A's owner Charlie Finley; Finley offered his players the reward for being able to grow and maintain their facial hair until Opening Day 1972.
- In 1980, Fingers broke Hoyt Wilhelm's career saves record of 227; he would eventually finish was 341, establishing a record that would stand until 1992.
- He won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award in 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1982.
- Fingers was offered a contract to play for the Cincinnati Reds in 1986 but, due to the team's anti-facial hair policy, shaving his mustache off would be a requirement; Fingers declined the contract.
- Fingers' uniform number 34 was retired by both the A's (in 1993) and Milwaukee Brewers (in 1992).
- In 2000, he was inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions, which honors San Diego's finest athletes both on and off the playing field.
- Fingers, along with 4 of his Brewers teammates, appeared on a 1983 episode of Family Feud.