Roland Glen Fingers was a sports star born on August 25, 1946, in Steubenville, Ohio. During his career, Fingers was notable in the field of Baseball as a pitcher. In fact, he played for Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, and San Diego Padres in Major League Baseball. His role as a relief pitcher had helped redefine the value of relievers in Baseball. Interestingly, he was a three-time champion in the World Series, an annual championship of the Major League Baseball (MLB). Fingers was also a four-time awardee of the Rolaids Relief Man Award, as well as a three-time MLB saves leader.
In high school, Fingers attended the Upland High School in Southern California. He then subsequently attended one semester at Chaffey Junior College. During that time, Fingers was offered by the Los Angeles Dodgers a $20 000 signing bonus. However, he had no chance to reach the major league since the team had solid pitching staffs, including Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, who were already a winning pennant.
Following that, Fingers signed with the Kansas City Athletics on the Christmas Eve of 1964. In there, the team cannot decide whether to make him an outfielder or a pitcher. However, after they agreed that he would play as a pitcher, Fingers was assigned to the Leesburg A’s of Class A Florida State League for the 1965 season. In the year 1966, he played for the Modesto Reds of California. Meanwhile, Fingers also played for Birmingham’s A of the Class AA Southern League in the years 1968 to 1969.
A year after he played for Birmingham’s A, Fingers was struck by a baseball in the face. With this, his cheekbones, jaws, and some teeth were knocked out. Since then, every time the ball was hit, Fingers jumps, and it took him about half the remaining season to get used playing on the mound again.
In 1970, Fingers had started nineteen games. However, in the following year, his last regular rotation ended against the Royals in Kansas City. During the match, Fingers gave up one run on four hits in five full innings. In May 1971, Fingers was assigned as a reliever in a game. By the end of the month, Dick Williams, the athletics manager, decided that Fingers would be the late-inning closer.
Rollie Fingers has been part of the Oakland Athletics that had won the World Series from the years 1972 to 1974. Third of those championships, he had won the World Series’ most valuable player award. After the season, Fingers signed a free-agent contract with the San Diego Padres. In the following years of Finger’s career in Football, he had won the annual MLB award, the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award in 1977.
In 1980, Fingers, along with Bob Shirley, and Gene Tenace, was traded by the Padres to St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Mike Phillips, Al Olmsted, Kim Seaman, Terry Kennedy, John Urrea, and Steve Swisher. A few days after that, Fingers, together with the other team members, were traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for players Dave LaPoint, Larry Sorensen, David Green, and Sixto Lexcano.
In 1981, Fingers won the American League Most Valuable Player Award, along with his second Rolaids Relief Man of Year Award and Cy Young Award for being the best pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB). He continued to play for the 1982 season but could not participate in the next season after he was injured and had a laminectomy.
Two years after he had a laminectomy, a procedure where a portion of his vertebral bone was removed, Fingers had his last major league appearance. At the end of his career, he was released by the Brewers. However, Pete Rose offered him a contract for the Cincinnati Reds in 1986. Subsequently, in the year 2000, the San Diego Hall of Champions inducted Fingers into their finest athletes.
In January 2007, the Sports Illustrated reported that Fingers owed the state of Wisconsin about $1.4 million income taxes, making him one of the biggest tax delinquents in the state. However, Fingers argued with the claim and stated that the taxes had been properly withheld from the Brewers’ paychecks. In August of the same year, Finger’s name was removed from Wisconsin’s tax delinquents.