Last night’s episode of “Burn Notice” had me chuckling a few times, especially at the sight of Jay Harrington of “Better Off Ted” playing against type as a sleazy, abusive husband. But what really cracked me up – and never fails to – was Sam’s use of the alias “Chuck Finley.” It’s his go-to fake name (along with the more upscale “Charles Finley,” depending on the situation), and the little inside joke never fails to bring a smile to my face. Call me a fan of obscure references.
The real Chuck Finley was a pretty good pitcher with the Angels in the late ’80s and through the ’90s. Of course, he’s more famous for getting beaten bloody by his wife, Tawny Kittaen (whose claim to fame was writhing around in Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” video), who went after him with a stiletto heel. And while domestic violence isn’t funny, in this case, yeah it kinda is. Finley always came off as kind of a jerk.
Charles (Charlie) Finley was the megalomaniac, cheapskate A’s owner in the ’70s who might have been the most hated baseball owner west of the Reds’ Marge Schott. He’s known for introducing bright orange baseballs, getting baseball to adopt the designated hitter rule and giving a young MC Hammer his first job. Basically he was the real-life example of what would happen if C. Montgomery Burns of “The Simpsons” owned a baseball team, though as far as I know Finley never released the hounds to chase away fans.
And to hear Bruce Campbell (who plays Sam) tell it, Chuck Finley was a friend of his dad’s back in the day. But that’s less interesting. I’m sticking with the baseball shout-outs.