MLB True Story: The history of Rollie's 'stache
How Fingers came upon the mustache takes us back to the early 1970s, when the A's were on the verge of a three-year run that produced several World Series titles and a whole lot of excess facial hair.
Reggie Jackson, a future Hall of Famer and emerging A's superstar, showed up to Spring Training wearing something not yet acceptable for the modern-day athlete: a mustache.
As luck would have it, Charles O. Finley, the cantankerous A's owner, liked the look. In fact, he liked it so much that he challenged the rest of the uniformed staff to follow suit.
"He said, 'All of you that make the team on Opening Day will get a check for $300 if you have a mustache,'" Fingers recalled during a conversation with fans at FanFest in Kansas City Friday.
Naturally, everyone who had a shot to make the club broke camp with a hairy upper lip and Finley paid up.
"He had 30 checks," Fingers said. "Twenty-five players, four coaches, one manager. Each for $300."
That was 1972. The A's won the World Series that year and the mustaches stayed. They won the Series again the next year, and their united front on facial hair remained strong. One more title in '74 sealed the deal: the A's, and their moustache-toting players -- we're there to stay.
"It's how mustaches got started in baseball," Fingers said.