There’s a fine line between eccentricity and insanity. Consider former Kansas City and Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley, the subject of baseball historian G. Michael Green’s book Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball’s Super Showman. As new owner of the Kansas City A’s, Finley took over a team that was run as a quasi-subsidiary of the New York Yankees and transformed it into an outlet for his own whims. He fired players and managers with reckless abandon while appointing a live mule named Charley-O as the team’s mascot and a mechanical rabbit to deliver baseballs to the umpire crew. Finley eventually moved the team and the mule to Oakland, winning multiple championships before selling the A’s in 1981. The late Finley would be dismayed to hear that admission is free for Green’s talk at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library (14 West 10th Street) — and that there are no promotional giveaways. Call 816-701-3407 for details.

Thu., July 15, 6 p.m., 2010