Rollie Fingers

Roland Glen Fingers
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1992
Primary team: Oakland Athletics
Primary position: Pitcher

Rollie Fingers had quite possibly the most famous mustache in baseball. But fans didn’t come to the ballpark to see just that. They came to see him close out games with his sinking fastball night after night.

“When he came in, you took a deep sigh of relief,” said former teammate Sal Bando. “You knew the game was in control.”

The 1981 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner spent 17 years in the big leagues with the Athletics, Padres and Brewers. He set the record for career saves – since broken – with 341. The handlebar mustache was first grown in 1972 because a promotion dreamed up by A’s owner Charlie O. Finley.

Finley offered any of the A's players a $300 bonus as part of the promotion, but the mustache soon became Fingers' trademark.

Born on Aug. 25, 1946 in Steubenville, Ohio, Fingers signed with the Kansas City Athletics in 1964. During nine seasons with the A’s, Fingers led the league in games pitched twice and finished in the top 10 in the league in saves seven times.

Fingers won three World Series titles while with Oakland from 1972-74 and was the MVP of the 1974 Series, earning a win and two saves in four games. Fingers won or saved eight of the A’s 12 World Series victories during their three-year run atop the baseball world.

After the 1976 season, Fingers signed as a free agent with San Diego – where he led the league in saves during his first two seasons, the second of which he posted 37 saves and tied the National League record.

“With Fingers, you know exactly what you’re going to get, just about every time out,” said Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson.

Fingers led the league in saves again in 1981, but this time it was in the American League after a trade to the Brewers. Fingers finished his career with 114 wins, a record 341 saves, 1,299 strikeouts, a 2.90 ERA and 1,701.1 innings pitched in 944 games.

“He’s the master,” said fellow relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry. “Look at his durability and longevity. He always knows how to make the right pitch.”

Fingers began his career as a starter, but found limited success once he reached the big leagues. He credits manager Dick Williams for moving him to the bullpen and turning him into a closer.

“Every organization realizes the importance of relief pitching now,” Fingers said. “Whether I had anything to do with that or not, I’ll leave that up to others to determine.”

Fingers got his answer when he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.

"Before, he was a real power pitcher. Now, he's the type of pitcher who has command of all of his pitches. Another thing is the poise he has out there. He knows he's going to get them out. He gives me a lot of confidence when he's out there. "
Milwaukee Brewers manager Rene Lachemann, 1984

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1992
Primary Team: Oakland Athletics
Position Played: Pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Steubenville, Ohio
Birth year: 1946
Played for:
Oakland Athletics (1968-1976)
San Diego Padres (1977-1980)
Milwaukee Brewers (1981-1982)
Milwaukee Brewers (1984-1985)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
944
HitsH
1474
RunsR
615
Innings PitchedIP
1701.1
WinsW
114
LossesL
118
Winning %Winning %
.491
Games StartedGS
37
ERAERA
2.90
Complete GamesCG
4
ShutoutsSHO
2
WHIPWHIP
1.156
SavesSV
341
Earned RunsER
549
WalksBB
492
StrikeoutsSO
1299