Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on October 31, 2017
This is one of the best baseball books I have ever read. It's about one of the most underappreciated teams in baseball history, and the owner whose management style somehow brought out the best in his players. History has recorded those 70's years as perhaps the most turbulent years any team has ever undergone. The A's were a team that was better than its individual parts. They argued, belittled one another, needled, and on occasions physically fought one another. There was no team leader, although Sal Bando had been a captain. In their own way, they were all team leaders keeping one another accountable for their play on the field. Charlie O. Finley built the team, and his narcissism created the glue that held those individual players together so that their common enemy was not always their opponents, but rather their own "Owner". For five years, despite poor pay, poor field conditions, poor travel accommodations, and a penny pinching pathologically controlling owner, those A's won three World Championships in a row and five division championships. But Finley's indifference and bald faced lies to the players as well as free agency led to a free fall in the standings that could only be cured with new ownership. Finley was innovative but his need for power and his ownership style of micromanaging everything about the team eventually alienated everyone. When he died only two of his former employees attended his funeral. Jason Turbow captures all of those years in this terrific book that confirms the stories you have heard about the battling A's. Finley so incensed his team that they twice threatened to boycott a world series game(Mike Andrews affair) and to strike(sale of Joe Rudi et.al.) during the season. The seasons are well illustrated and the nature of the players and owner are artfully depicted. This is a wonderful look back into time before Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally changed the game by winning their free agency; a time when an owner could manipulate, control, and paradoxically become a rallying cry for his players to achieve greatness.