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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A's Innovative Ex-Owner Finley Dies

LOS ANGELES -- Former Oakland Athletics owner Charlie O. Finley has died in a Chicago hospital.

A spokeswoman for Northwestern Memorial Hospital said Finley, 77, died of heart disease Monday after being hospitalized for two weeks.

"He was great for baseball, years ahead of his time,'' said Reggie Jackson, a Hall-of-Fame outfielder for the A's from 1967-75.

Finley's A's were baseball's dominant team during the early '70s, winning five consecutive American League West division championships from 1971-75 and three consecutive World Series championships between 1972 and '74. No other team besides the New York Yankees has won three consecutive World Series titles.

Serving as his own general manager, he employed some of the sport's best and most charismatic players, such as Jackson, Jim "Catfish'' Hunter, Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers.

But he had even more impact with the changes in the game that he inspired, promoting the introduction of the designated hitter in the American League and night World Series games.

The major leagues also experimented with -- but rejected -- his recommendation to use orange baseballs so that fans could follow them easier.

He bought the A's while they were located in Kansas City in 1960 for $1.9 million and moved the team to Oakland in 1968. Finley sold the team in 1981 to the Levi-Strauss company for $12.7 million.