The Finley Ball

The Ball That Never Came To Be

You can blame a lot of things on Charlie Finley. Late starts in the World Series, the designated hitter are a couple of his ideas that are still in use. One that never took off was the orange baseball. About 45 years ago Charlie Finley came up with this idea that the orange ball would be more visible. The only problem was that the ball was super slick which the pitchers did not like. The red seams did not pop off of orange ball like they do the white ball so the hitters couldn’t pick up the spin. The ball never really took off.

My Orange Ball

About fifteen years after the orange ball idea failed I picked my first one up. Being from Charlie’s hometown of LaPorte we always heard stories about this baseball pioneer. Driving on the highway you could still see the hedge shaped in the A’s logo at his former house. I used to play street hockey on his tennis courts because they were so large. When the orange baseballs showed up at the sports store we bought a couple of them. The one in the photo above is the only one that survived. I bet this ball was part of 100’s of games of catch with my dad. It is scuffed, it is beat up, the writing has long since come off the ball, but it is still pretty distinct. This was one of the items that showed up in a box when I finally picked up my childhood effects from my parents house.


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