Love me some Joe Poz
No team had ever given up 200 home runs in a season before 1964. The closest had been … the 1962 Kansas City Athletics, who gave up 199. Well, the Kansas City Athletics did love to give up the the long ball. The 1956 Athletics still hold the record for most homers allowed to one team … you can guess the team. That was the year Mickey Mantle won the triple crown, and he hit nine of his 52 homers against the A’s. Even more impressively, Hank Bauer hit 10 of his 26 homers against the A’s, and Yogi Berra hit nine of his 30 homers against the A’s. All in all, the Yankees hit an astonishing 56 home runs in 22 games against Kansas City.
Well, Athletics owner Charlie Finley thought he knew the real secret to the Yankees success.
For Charlie, it all came down to the dimensions at Yankee Stadium.
It is unclear how exactly this loony idea came into Finley’s head. Finley would tell people he picked it up from the manager of the 1964 A’s — former Yankee star pitcher Eddie Lopat — but to be fair to Lopat he publicly repudiated the idea over and over. Anyway, crazy ideas floated into Finley’s head all the time, some of them semi-fun (brightly colored uniforms, fun nicknames like “Catfish” Hunter and “Blue Moon” Odom, bonuses to players growing mustaches, hiring a young MC Hammer to hang around the Oakland A’s) and some of them semi-crazy (orange baseballs, a poison pen award to his least favorite sportswriters, a mascot mule called “Charley O,” etc.).
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