Finley with the Angels in 1996
November 26, 1962 |
|May 29, 1986, for the California Angels|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 28, 2002, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Earned run average||3.85|
|Career highlights and awards|
Charles Edward "Chuck" Finley (born November 26, 1962) is a retired Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He pitched from 1986–2002 for three different teams, but pitched primarily with the California Angels (later the Anaheim Angels and now Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). After a 14-year tenure with the Angels, he played for the Cleveland Indians for three years, and then was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and played there for half a season. During a 17-year baseball career, Finley compiled 200 wins, 2,610 strikeouts, and a 3.85 earned run average. He is the Angels all-time career leader in wins (165), innings pitched (2,675), games started (379) and is second in strikeouts (2,151). He lives in Newport Beach, California
Finley is best known for his long career with the Angels, during which he won more than 15 games six times. He was a very durable pitcher through his career, pitching more than 190 innings a year in 12 of 15 years (1988–2002). His finest season was in 1990, when he won 18 games to just 9 losses and posted a 2.40 ERA — to date, the lowest by an Angel left-hander on a season, surpassing Frank Tanana's 2.43 in 1976. In 1993, Finley led the major leagues in complete games (13) and in 1994 he led the American leagues in innings pitched (183.1). After departing the Angels, Finley signed with the Indians before the 2000 season. He went 16–11 with a 4.17 ERA and posted an 8–7 record with a 5.54 ERA with the Indians in 2001. In 2002, he was 4–11 with a 4.44 ERA in 18 games before being traded to the Cardinals for outfielder Coco Crisp. He finished the season and subsequently his career with the Cardinals, going 7–4 with a 3.80 ERA for the remainder of the season,
Finley was the first pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball to record four strikeouts in a single inning more than once; he accomplished the feat three times in two years (only A. J. Burnett and Zack Greinke, over a decade later, have performed a repeat four-outer). Finley accomplished the feat on May 12, 1999, then later that season on August 15, both with the Anaheim Angels, and then for a third time on April 16, 2000, with the Cleveland Indians. This oddity can mainly be attributed to the fact that he used an excellent split-finger pitch as his strike-out weapon; that pitch would often end up in the dirt, eluding both batter and catcher.
After transferring from Louisiana Tech University to Northeast Louisiana University, Finley was selected by the Angels in the 15th round of the 1984 amateur draft, but he did not sign. The Angels chose him again in the first round (fourth pick) of the secondary phase of the 1985 amateur draft.
Finley became eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008; 75% of the vote was necessary for induction, and 5% was necessary to stay on the BBWAA ballot. He received 0.2% of the vote and dropped off of the ballot.
On April 9, 2009, Finley was to be inducted into the Angels' Hall of Fame along with former teammate Brian Downing before the start of the game. However, due to the death of Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart, the ceremony and game were postponed until August 27, 2009.
On July 11, 2010, Finley was the winning pitcher in the 2010 Legends and Celebrity Softball Game at Angel Stadium.
Finley, similarly to Randy Johnson, was a rare left-handed power pitcher and often finished in the top 5 in the league in strikeouts. He complemented his hard fastball with a devastating forkball that would baffle hitters when on target. The best comparison to Finley for pitching style would be right-handed Roger Clemens, though Finley had less consistent command of his pitches than Clemens.
Personal life and marriage
Finley was married to actress Tawny Kitaen from 1997 to 2002. He filed for divorce three days after Kitaen was charged with committing domestic violence against him, having beaten him with a stiletto heel. They have two daughters, Wynter and Raine. Tawny Finley, in a declaration to the Orange County Superior Court, claimed Finley used steroids amongst other drugs. She also claimed he bragged about being able to circumvent MLB's testing policy. When told of his wife's accusations, which also included heavy marijuana use and alcohol abuse, Finley replied: "I can't believe she left out the cross-dressing."
As Finley took the mound for an April 2002 game against the Chicago White Sox at then-Comiskey Park, the stadium's musical director, Joe Stephen, took a subtle dig at Finley's messy divorce, and played "Here I Go Again" by the band Whitesnake, referencing Kitaen's appearance in that band's videos and her previous marriage to the band's lead singer, David Coverdale. Stephen was later fired and the White Sox apologized.
In the show Burn Notice, the character Sam Axe, played by Bruce Campbell, frequently uses the alias Chuck Finley (or Charles Finley for more sophisticated circumstances), which is said to be chosen by Sam because he successfully bet on Chuck Finley many times.
- List of Major League Baseball career wins leaders
- List of Major League Baseball single-inning strikeout leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career strikeout leaders
- Hall of Fame voting, 2008
- Rush, George (16 May 2002). "PITCHER, WIFE PLAY HARDBALL IN DIVORCE". New York Daily News. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
- Reilly, Rick. "Too short for a column:Won't you help Brian Cushing?".
- Caple, Jim. "Who let the prudes out?". ESPN.com. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
- Darryl Morden (August 8, 2010). "'Burn Notice' TV Star By Day, Cult Film Hero By Night". Buzzzine. Archived from the original on January 16, 2011.
- Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe
- Charles 'Chuck' Finley