Nov 24, 2019

The 1970's Oakland A's Ball Girls- (MLB's First)

In the days of the early seventies the Oakland A's won three straight Championships & changed the face of baseball forever. 

The team's controversial owner was known to be cheap in paying his star players & known to meddle in the teams on field affairs. He drove managers crazy & even had Dick Williams resign after winning his second straight World Series.

But Finley also revolutionized baseball in many other ways. He was instrumental in getting the designated hitter in the American League & have the World Series played at night, so fans could attend after work. He gave his players fancy names like Catfish, Blue Moon & True Blue. 

When his star Reggie Jackson refused to shave his beard, he encouraged the whole team to grow facial hair by paying them $200 each. 

The A's team even grew their hair long, a sign of the times. But before that baseball players had not had facial or long hair since the 1800's. 

He introduced bright colored yellow & green uniforms, with white sneakers. His team wore white jerseys' on Sundays. There were other ideas that didn't take off like orange baseballs at night & electrical rabbits bringing baseballs to umpires.

One of the more interesting things Finley did was hire Ball Girls to sit on the foul lines to field foul balls. The girls would bring water, or lemonade & chocolate chip cookies to the umpires in between innings.

When asked about his creative & ground breaking idea the owner said": 

Quotes- Charlie Finley "I wanted to get the female interested in baseball".

When he was told that the girls mainly attracted men & young teen age boys to being their biggest fans, Finley said with a laugh "That didn't hurt either".

Finley even held Hot Pants Day at the Oakland Coliseum. One of his many promotions like Mustache Day

The Oakland A's ball girls were two teen age girls from a local high school. The lovely young ladies, were California blondes clad in tight white shorts or hot pants as they were called back in the day. They wore knee high green or gold socks & white shoes. They certainly attracted lots of attention. This was a time when all other teams had ball boys fielding foul balls on the foul lines. The Ball Girls were MLB's first.

The two young ladies were Debbie Sivyer & Marry Barry, both from Bishop O' Dowd high School in Oakland.

Debbie Sivyer's sister worked as a secretary in the Oakland A's office, which certainly helped her chances of getting selected. Debbi was paid $5 an hour for her work. 

With the help of that money the very smart young lady, would bake cookies & introduced a "milk & cookies" break for umpires in the middle of the game. Soon she was selling her cookies locally.

Eventually the homecoming queen graduated from high school & attended college. At 19 she got married to Randall Fields who was 29 & the founder of Fields Investment Group. 

Debbie Fields started her Cookie business, Mrs. Fields Cookies, opening her first bakery in Palo Alto in 1977.

The highly successful buisness, grew to over 650 bakeries in the United States & 80 in other countries. 


Debbi franchised in the 1990 & eventually sold the buisness for millions a few years later. She still remains as the company's spokeswoman.

Marry Barry went on to be a professional massage therapist & remains good friends with Debbi to this day. The two even reunited on the field, to threw out ceremonial first pitches at an A's game in 2018.

According to Charlie Finley's daughter, Nancy, she said the ball girl idea ended by 1975, because of several complaints from the A's players wives. 

A's GM at the time, Finleys son Carl stated the girls had to go in the interests of the players marital harmony.

It's funny but by 1975 the A's Dynasty began to fall apart. Free agency & the economics of baseball was one of the biggest reasons. That year the A's won their fifth straight divisional title, losing the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox. The A's won their next divisional title in 1981, Finley nor any one else from the Swingin' A's era remained.



*all photos from Ron Riesterer photography

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