Monday, May 14, 2018

Rollie Fingers (#502)

Here is Rollie Fingers’ first solo card. (He appeared in a late-series AL Rookie Stars card in the 1969 set.) Fingers pitched for the Athletics (1968-76), Padres (1977-80), and Brewers (1981-85) in his 17-year career.

He was signed by the Athletics in December 1964, and after 4 seasons in the minors, he got his feet wet with Oakland in 1 game in September 1968.


Always a starter in the minors, he was primarily a reliever with Oakland, but started 8 games in 1969, 19 in 1970, and 8 in 1971. Beginning in 1972, it was only bullpen work for Rollie for the remainder of his career (except for 2 starts in 1973).

Fingers was an All-Star with the Athletics every season from 1973-76, and led the AL in games pitched in ’74 and ’75. Rollie pitched in every post-season from 1971-75 with the Athletics.

After the 1976 season he was granted free agency, and signed with the Padres. He pitched 4 seasons in San Diego, leading the NL in saves in ‘77 and ’78, and making the All-Star team in 1978.

Traded to the Cardinals in December 1980 in an 11-player deal, 4 days later he was sent to the Brewers in a 7-player deal.

Fingers made the All-Star team in his first 2 seasons in Milwaukee, and led the AL in saves in 1981. He also won the Cy Yong and MVP awards in 1981. Although he pitched in the ’81 ALDS, he missed the entire 1982 post-season (including the World Series) due to injury.

After missing the 1983 season with that injury, he returned for 2 more seasons with the Brewers (still with a full workload at age 37 and 38) before getting his release after the 1985 season.

Rumor is that Pete Rose offered him a contract to play for the Reds in 1986, but he would have had to shave off his mustache per team policy, so he declined.

Fingers was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992, only the second reliever to gain entry to Cooperstown by that time.

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