After the Athletics' victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1974 World Series under Alvin Dark, pitcher Catfish Hunter filed a grievance. He won the American League Cy Young Award in 1974 with a record of 25-12 and a league-leading 2.49 earned run average. Hunter uncovered a violation of his contract with A's owner Charlie Finley and the team that allowed him to become a free agent. The A's were to send half of Hunter's $100,000 annual salary to a North Carolina bank as payment on an annuity, but Finley did not comply.
On December 13, 1974, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled in Hunter’s favor. As a result, Hunter became a free agent, and signed a contract with the New York Yankees for the 1975 season. Despite the loss of Hunter, the A’s repeated as A.L. West champions in 1975, but lost the ALCS to Boston in a 3-game sweep.
The Athletics led the league in arbitration filings with 13. Seven players settled before their hearings.
At the All-Star Break, there were discussions of Bowie Kuhn’s reappointment. Finley, New York owner George Steinbrenner and Baltimore owner Jerry Hoffberger were part of a group that wanted him gone. Finley was trying to convince the new owner of the Texas Rangers Brad Corbett that MLB needed a more dynamic commissioner. During the vote, Baltimore and New York decided to vote in favour of the commissioner’s reappointment.
By July 14,the Athletics had won 55 games, compared to 32 losses. Seven Athletics had been named to the All-Star Game.
August 18, 1975: Charlie Finley was on the cover of Time Magazine. It would be his last major profile in a national publication.
Finley received numerous offers for the Athletics. Horse owner Marge Everett wanted to purchase the team and relocate them to Seattle. Former San Francisco Giants manager Herman Franks led a group of 15 investors who had offered more than $15 million.
Finley openly criticized fans for the lack of attendance. There were rumours of possible relocation to New Orleans, Seattle, and Toronto. In addition, there was talk of an ownership group relocating the San Francisco Giants to Toronto, with the possibility that Oakland would have the entire Bay Area to itself.
In 1975, fed up with poor attendance in Oakland during the team's championship years, Finley pondered relocating the team. When Seattle filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball over the move of the Seattle Pilots to Milwaukee, Finley and others came up with an elaborate shuffle which would move the ailing Chicago White Sox to Seattle. White Sox owner John Allyn was broke and placed under enormous pressure from fellow owners to sell his club to Seattle interests and undercut a lawsuit which Seattle had against them. As Charlie Finley had business interests in Chicago, he was prepared to move the Athletics to Chicago and be closer to his home in LaPorte, Indiana. Due to his 20-year lease with the city of Oakland (to expire in 1987), Finley was blocked. The scheme fell through when Arthur Allyn sold the White Sox to another colorful owner, Bill Veeck, who was not interested in leaving Chicago.