Before the "Bronx Zoo" of George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin, there were the Oakland Athletics of the early 1970s, one of the most successful, most colorful-and most chaotic-baseball teams of all time. They were all of those things because of Charlie Finley. Not only the A's owner, he was also the general manager, personally assembling his team, deciding his players' salaries, and making player moves during the season-a level of involvement no other owner, not even Steinbrenner, engaged in.Drawing on interviews with dozens of Finley's players, family members, and colleagues, G. Michael Green and Roger D. Launius present "Baseball's Super Showman" (Time magazine's description of Finley on the cover of an August 1975 issue) in all his contradictions: generous yet vengeful, inventive yet destructive. The stories surrounding him are as colorful as the life he led, the chronicle of which fills an important gap in baseball's literature.

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