Charlie Finley says it again: deal's off, he is struck with his A's, in Oakland, for 1980. Latest bidders-Karl Eller, Neil Papiano et al.-were just like the rest, Charlie O propounds: "Big hat, no cattle."
Proposed installment plan for the $10 million sale, he said, guaranteed him only the first $4 million plus the risk of having the A's tossed back in his lap after "going belly up."
Anyway, things are looking up for Finley compared to a year ago: Has a $1 million TV contract (30 games on San Francisco KPIX), probable six-station radio network. . . .
Phillies keep digging for pitching help. While 1976 fireman of year Rawly Eastwick languishes as he has done since the Phils landed him last June from the Yankees, gathering rust on his mysteriously ineffectual right arm, they bring in Doug Bird in trade yesterday from Kansas City. Bird went From penthouse in 1977 (11-3, saving 14 games in final two months of AL West flag drive) to birdcage floor in '78 (5.29 E R A), but Philadelphia is scrambling with Christenson, Ruthven, Carlton, Lonborg, Brusstar all ailing . . . On Royal's end, murmurs are that the deal shows K.C. giving up on shortstop Fred Patek-they get Triple-A ss whiz Todd Cruz for Bird, Patek reportedly has a back condition, can't cut it anymore . . . If he goes, no more dispute over White Sox' allegedly 5-foot-3 Harry Chappas (if he stays) billing as shortest short-stop-not to mention at any position. And Chappas evidently is staying, with Manager Don Kessinger, who volunteered to hang up his glove, being told to keep it but now working as second baseman . . .
Phil Hubbard, Michigan basketball ace who missed 1977-78 with werecked knee but came back pretty strong in '78-79, has told Coach Johnny Orr he will return for one more year, although eligible for NBA draft this spring. Unless, says Orr, "they make him some big offer."
Gordon Bradley and his Dips may have to change game plans for Sunday's Cosmos invasion of RFK. The Meadowlands champs have, with flourish, added another world-class maneuverer to the aggregation: Dutch World Cupper Wim Rijsbergen. United with 1974 W.C. final opponent Franz Beckenbauer, Rijsbergen can play backline or defensive midfield. There'd been rumbles of dissension on the NASL champions, with Coach Eddie Firmani opposing conglomerate's acquisition of defenders Marinho from Brazil, Eskandarian from Iran and having trouble fitting them in-plus injuries sidelining Werner Roth and other regulars. Firmani gives his blessing to the dutchman.
NBC Sports has added Wes Parker to its baseball commentating team-evidently one old Dodger for another, Maury Wills . . .
Touchdown Club salutes Renaldo Nehemiah, Maryland's and world's premier hurdier, at noon luncheon yesterday (plate $7.50). Among saluters, Illinois track flash of yesteryear Bobby Mitchell, the Redskin executive.