Sport: Deliverance in Denim

"Big hats, no cattle," sighed Charlie Finley last year when Dhe put the Oakland A's on the auction block after 20 years of stormy ownership. Finley was referring to the ensuing stampede of publicity-seeking, would-be buyers who did not have the scratch. But last November, Walter A.

Haas Jr., 65, chairman of Levi Strauss & Co., rode to the rescue like a cowboy in copper-riveted jeans. Haas did not need a big hat: he had the cattle. Plopping down $12.7 million of the family fortune, he vowed, "We're going to do what we did...

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