The "dynasty" tag is ever elusive in baseball—ask the San Francisco Giants or Kansas City Royals of recent years—but the supremely gifted, nearly ungovernable Oakland A's assembled by the team's irascible, miserly owner Charles O. Finley in the early 1970s probably qualifies, with three World Series wins in a row (1972–74), bookended by ALCS losses in 1971 and 1975. The gang's all here, from Reggie Jackson to Sal Bando, Joe Rudi, Bert Campaneris, Catfish Hunter, Blue Moon Odom, Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers, and their colorful, cunning manager, Dick Williams. Author Turbow keeps the narrative flow moving while offering thumbnail backstories for the principals and just enough tidbits—a knife-wielding Campaneris going after Jackson at a "celebration" dinner the night of the team's 1973 championship win—to give the book some pop. Entertaining reading for fans whose interest in baseball history extends back 40 years. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
One of the most unusual dynasties in baseball, the Oakland A's of the 1970s, gets close scrutiny by veteran sportswriter Turbow, author of The Baseball Codes, who details how the team was cleverly assembled and peaked during a turbulent American era. Following a move from Kansas City to the Bay Area in 1967, Finley seizes control of a lackluster squad, stocking it with a roster of talented rogues and rebels including Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, Sal Bando, Rollie Fingers, and Blue Moon Odom in his quest to achieve postseason honors. Turbow challenges the myth of Finley as a con man and huckster, portraying him as a visionary and promotional genius for his team's mascot mule, uniform changes, half-price games, and facial hair on players. Conflicts between players in the clubhouse and in the press only propel the team to win five straight division titles, three American League pennants, and three World Series. As the 1970s close, the ailing Finley surrenders to free agency and fire sales of his stars, ending his team's reign. Turbow's scholarly account offers a chance to relive a period of outlandish moments in America's pastime. (Mar.)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.