Charles O. Finley withdrew his offer to sell his Oakland A's Denver oilman Marvin Davis yesterday and issued baseball another ultimatum: "If baseball wants to buy me out, it's at my price or no deal."
Finley said he would pay $1 million - not "another dime" - of the $3.25 million the Oakland Coliseum is demanding in return for releasing the A's from the remaining 10 years on their contract with the municipal stadium.
"Baseball is pressuring me continuously to put up more money, but I'm not putting up another dime over one million," Finley said. "I can't dillydally around and wonder if my team will be sold or play in Oakland. So I just made a decision that I'll play at Oakland."
Baseball has agreed to contribute $1 million if it will end the deadlock between the American League A's and the San Francisco Giants of the National League, who played in Candlestick Park a short distance away. The two clubs have been crippling each other financially.
When Denver's Davis offered Finley a reported $12.5 million last December to buy the A's for Mile High Stadium, there was great relief in baseball circles. Then a series of stum bling blocks emerged, the latest of which is the $3.25 million demand to satisfy Oakland Colisum demands.
"If I'm willing to put up one third and baseball is willing to put up one third, then someone else, like the owners of the San Francisco Giants, should put up the other third," Finley said. "It's just as important to (them) for the A's to leave as it is for the A's to move to Denver."
Toward this end, the Giants' co-owners, Bob Lurie and Bud Herseth, met in Phoenix yesterday and there was speculation they might contribute if it would solve the Bay Area problem once and for all. The Giants have lost $2 million in the past two years and would continue to lose money if the A's remain.
Lurie told The Washington Post last night, "We will never come up with $1 million. We'll never do it. But we are considering making a contribution which I would call substantial. This can still be done."
Interests in Washington, D.C., are following the developments closely. If the A's remain in Oakland, Washington's chances for another baseball club could be tied to a possible National League expansion into Denver and the nation's capital.