Today marks 29 years since Rollie Fingers and his magnificent ‘stache retired from the game of baseball. It was a rocky ending to say the least. After being released by the Brewers at the conclusion of the 1985 season, he was offered a contract with Pete Rose’s Cincinnati Reds, under one condition…he shave his mustache. The Reds were notorious for their “dress code” of no drastic hairstyles or earrings (until Ken Griffey Jr. came along). Fingers decided to stick with the ‘stache and nix the deal with the Reds. That hair above his lip had made him an icon for over a decade and a half and he was not willing to give it up. Fingers had an incredible career that included four great seasons with the San Diego Padres from 1977-1980.
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Fingers is from Upland, CA and was drafted by the Athletics in 1964. He was an All-Star in 1978 with San Diego when he posted a 2.52 ERA with 37 saves. He ended up saving 108 games for the Friars and 341 total. Only Trevor Hoffman and Heath Bell have more saves as a Padre. He is 12th all-time in career saves.
All in all, he won three World Series (once he was MVP) as part of the Athletics three-peat from 1972-1974 and was selected to seven All-Star Games. Most impressively is when he won Cy Young and MVP in 1981 with Oakland with a 1.04 ERA in 78 innings and leading the league with 28 saves. He only allowed nine runs that entire season. Making the playoffs with two different teams, he appeared in 30 postseason games in all. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992 on his second try. His number #34 is retired with both the Oakland A’s and the Milwaukee Brewers.
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