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September 5, 2013

Pathfinder residents hit home runs against Fingers

Hall of Famer tours facility as part of tournament week


Fingers said the highlight of his career was the 1972 World Series, when he got the final out against the Cincinnati Reds.

“As a kid you dream of playing in the World Series,” he said. “You dream of being on the mound and making the final out in the World Series. And there I was in Game 7. We were up 3-2, and I was on the mound in the ninth inning. They got a man on base, we had two outs and sure enough, who is at the plate but Pete Rose. He swung at the first pitch and hit a fly ball to left field to make the third out, and we won the World Series.”

At the beginning of that season, Fingers grew his trademark handlebar mustache.

“The only reason I grew it was to get $300 from owner Charley Finley,” he said. “He offered the money to anyone who grew a mustache and made the team. We started winning that season. I think we started the season 12-2. Ballplayers are the most superstitious people in the world. We started winning. We won the World Series in ‘72; well, it must have been the mustaches.

“Then we won the World Series in 1973 and 1974,” he continued. “Well, you can’t shave your mustache after winning three straight World Series titles.”

Fingers was inducted into the Hall of Fame during his second year on the ballot and said he has been back for every induction since then. He said he is looking forward to the 2014 induction, which has the potential to be a big class.

“There are seven or eight or nine guys that could go in next year,” he said. “Plus you have all those managers. It is going to be a big class. They might have to put up some lights, because it is going to be dark by the time everyone gets done speaking.”

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