Q&A; with Chuck Finley

Chuck Finley, a former Major League star pitcher best known for his time with the Angels, says he likes to keep himself busy these days.

The 49-year-old Newport Beach resident enjoys playing in charity golf events. He's all for doing autograph signing events, like the one he did Saturday at the new Dick's Sporting Goods in Huntington Beach.

Finley also spends time working with young pitchers and helps them develop to hopefully pursue an opportunity on the college level. Some of the young hurlers are friends' kids, he said.

"It's pretty fun," he said. "I just keep myself busy."

Finley took time out of his busy schedule and before he signed at Dick's to answer a few questions.


Question: What's your take on the Angels? What happened?

Answer: They had three seasons. They got off to a bad start. Then they kicked it in in the middle of the season. And then they kind of stumbled a bit at the end. They were playing for their life the last two weeks. And that's tough to do. That gets to you after a while.

They never really got the whole thing clicking together. It seemed like there was always something missing every week from the team. They made a good run at it. To be out of it and come back to be there two games away, but then they were out. I really didn't think anybody was going to catch Texas but Oakland did. That just shows you, you have to play all 162.

I think they need to strengthen their bullpen. That's a big hole they have, trying to get those innings pitched from the sixth to the ninth.

I think the hitting is always going to be there now that they have that settled in. They have some big decisions to make. Do you put [Mark] Trumbo in left? Do you do this? Do you do that?

What do you do with [Peter] Bourjos? What do you do with [Torii] Hunter?

I don't think they have any more decisions than what any other teams have. But when you watch them day to day it's like, do you have too much talent? Somebody has to sit.

Question: With all those offseason moves the Angels made, were you expecting them to make the playoffs?

Answer: Oh yeah. Even without Albert [Pujols] I thought they would be a legitimate contender. And then when they got him I thought that would put them over the top.

I never would have thought they would be four or five games down at the end. I thought they would be seven or eight up.

Just by looking at their team and their pitching staff and they got C.J. Wilson. Obviously when they got [Zack] Greinke I thought that was going to push them, but they never really got that surge going to push them to the top. Every team was playing so well and everyone was pushing to get that extra wild card spot.

Question: Who is the best pitcher in the game?

Answer: I would probably say, [Jered] Weaver had a really good year. That [Gio] Gonzalez kid from Washington had a really good year. [Justin] Verlander is always up there. But if I had one game to win, I would go with Weaver.

His stuff moves and he's hard to hit, hard to pick up. He's a gamer. He would be my one-game guy.

Question: What are your thoughts on the new one-game wild-card playoff?

Answer: I thought it was great up until Friday when I saw teams that had great years, couple of bad plays and they're gone. Like Atlanta, they played so well all year and now their season is over. Texas played so well and now their season is over.

I thought it was really good for the last two weeks. The teams and cities were all in to it.

It's hard to picture teams like Atlanta and Texas having good years, and some team like the Cardinals sneaks in and wins and you're gone.

They're going to have people who don't like the new wild card. But there's only room for so many.

Question: How do you think you're thought of or remembered?

Answer: I would probably say longevity. The guy who went out there and took the ball, and never really shied away from anything. A good teammate, played hard, played the game right, respected the game. I think that's my main thing with people. My teammates always told me, 'I want you in my fox hole with me.' So that's good.

But I wish I had a couple of rings I could hang around my neck to show people, but those things are hard to come by.

Question: How were you able to last so long?

Answer: I had a friend ask me: how can you play for 17 years and never have one surgery? I told him, I have [horrible] insurance. I wanted to have a couple of surgeries, but I couldn't find the right doctor.

But to be serious I just grew up doing manual labor my whole life. I had a pitching coach who taught me the proper mechanics. Obviously my size helps because it gives me a lot of leverage. I always kept in shape. I always stayed in attention of being ready. I knew I didn't have the best stuff, but I knew when I stepped on the mound I was better prepared than the guy I was going against.

I was probably scared of failure. I worked so hard that I didn't want to lose my job. Sometimes they would say, 'Someone is there behind you, trying to take your job.' I would say, 'Where is he? I don't see him.' They would say, 'He'll be there one day.' I would say, 'one day, that's fine, but not today.'

Question: What are your thoughts on Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown?

Answer: That's a very special reward right there.

Just winning the batting title is something. Then you throw in the home runs and the RBIs. When was the last time that happened?

That's special. That's an MVP.

I don't think [Mike] Trout is going to have enough to win it.

How do you not give it to the guy who won the Triple Crown and got his team into the playoffs?

You can't look away from it. He's got my vote.


Twitter: @SteveVirgen

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