Sport: Pyrotechnics by Finley

"I found out one thing about baseball people right away," says Charles Oscar Finley. "They like to make the game sound so complex that nobody but them can run it. It doesn't take a genius to run a ball club." Since he bought the Athletics 14 years ago when they were steady losers in Kansas City, Finley has proved his own dictum on a number of occasions. His imperious, cantankerous ways have earned him enemies from coast to coast and have often hurt the team. Yet in a slow-moving sport that is top-heavy with tradition, Finley's innovations and flights of profane...