Walter A. Haas, Jr.
Charlie Finley brought World Series championships to Oakland in 1972, 1973 and 1974, but did it largely despite a shoestring budget and low attendance totals. However, 1979 saw the A's lose 108 games and draw just over 300,000 fans. Finley was quickly losing money and a possible relocation of the franchise seemed a likely scenario.
It was Walter Haas, a third-generation San Franciscan, who rescued the Athletics, purchasing the ballclub from Finley on August 23, 1979 and immediately restoring the team's credibility. By 1981, they were back in the playoffs. In 1987, a revamped Oakland Coliseum played host to the All-Star Game. The A's made three straight World Series appearances, from 1988-1990. From the late 1980s to the middle 1990s, the A's averaged over two million fans per season.
The owner of a Masters of Business Administration from the prestigious Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, Haas was regarded as one of the top businessmen in the United States. Before taking over the ownership reins of the Oakland Athletics, Haas headed large corporations such as Levi Strauss, Pacific Telephone, United Airlines and Bank of America. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the National Alliance of Businessmen.
Haas passed away at the age of 79 on September 20, 1995, leaving the team to his son, Wally, who had worked for his father as the team's president and CEO. On November 1, 1995, the younger Haas sold the Athletics to the partnership of Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann.