Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 1964: Charlie Finley Seeks To Move The A's To Louisville

On January 6, 1964, the owner of the Kansas City A's Charlie Finley signed a two year deal that would shift the club to Louisville, Kentucky. The deal would have the Athletics playing ball at Louisville's Fairgrounds Stadium with the city and state guaranteeing that the stadium would undergo a renovation that would raise the seating capacity from 20,100 to 30,632. The 2 year agreement gave Finley flexibility that if attendance expectations were not met the A's would have the opportunity to look elsewhere. The City of Louisville hadn't seen a major league ballclub since the American Association's Louisville Colonels dissolved in 1892 as the National League emerged onto the scene and because of opposition to Finley's plan to move they would not see major league baseball in the city. Before the ink could dry on the deal that Finley signed the other owners of the American league ballclubs made it be known that they were not going to support the move. He needed to get approval by the other owners to make it final and it was a hurdle that he could not jump. It seemed that Finley was intent on moving the team out of Kansas City the moment he purchased the team in December of 1960 even though he promised the fans in K.C. that he wanted to keep them there. Six weeks after he signed a deal to move the team to Louisville the owners voted again, this time it was a proposed move to Oakland which was shot down as well. Finley finally got his wish to move the team in 1967 when a deal was approved to move the club to Oakland, this came after the city of Kansas City had approved a brand new stadium that would be completed in 1973. I guess it was a little late for Finley who had already made up his mind that the Athletics would no longer call Kansas City home. It didn't take long for Kansas City to get a new ballclub, in 1969 they were granted an expansion team that would be known as the Royals and by 1973 they would be playing ball in that stadium that was originally planned for that A's team who had headed west.

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