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A.L. to Finley: No Dice on Louisville Move

Jan. 16, 1964 - The American League rejected Charles O. Finley’s plea to move his Athletics from Kansas City to Louisville today and ordered him to sign a lease in the Missouri city by Feb. 1 or face expulsion from the league. Finley (pictured with his wife) immediately countered with a threat to take the league to court. “My plans will be to go to court to find out if the American League legally has the power they think they have to restrain me from moving my ball club to Louisville or any other place,” the fiery owner said. He made the statement after huddling with his attorneys following the nine-hour session of the league and its board of directors in New York. The colorful, white-haired owner stalked out of the league meetings just a couple of moments before the league’s sharp action was announced.

Finley had signed a contract to move to Louisville without receiving permission from the league, as is required. He came into the meeting with a long history of complex wrangles with Kansas City authorities concerning the lease at Municipal Stadium. His request to move to Louisville was turned down by a 9-1 vote of the league owners. If Finley fails to sign a lease in Kansas City by Feb. 1, the owners said, “a special meeting of the members of the league shall be called by the president to consider and act upon the termination of the membership and/or expulsion from membership of Charles O. Finley.” The league has never taken such an action against an owner. “I have no alternative now but to work out a lease with Kansas City,” Finley told an informal news conference. “I’m certainly not going to throw the franchise out the window. I always thought I was a good salesman. I gave the best sales talk I ever gave in my life today, but I didn’t impress anyone. I told the directors I lost over a million dollars during the three years in Kansas City. That’s cold cash. It didn’t faze them a bit. I don’t feel baseball has the right to force me to stay in a city where I am continuously losing money.”

Joe Cronin, president of the American League, said: “We’re hoping that Finley will get together with the Kansas City people and make it work. Kansas City outdrew three or four other cities in the American League last year. The Louisville people made a fine presentation, but through the years Kansas City has been fine for the American League.”


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