Hall of Famer Fingers disputes tax delinquency

Updated: January 16, 2007, 12:52 AM ET
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- Hall of Fame pitcher Rollie Fingers disputed his status as one of Wisconsin's largest tax delinquents, insisting in an online journal that he had income taxes withheld from every paycheck when he played for the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1980s.

"The Brewers went through [archives] and found that every paycheck issued to Rollie Fingers while he was a member of the Brewers had state income taxes withheld," read an entry dated Jan. 8 on RollieFingersSportsBlog.com.

Fingers confirmed to a Madison TV station by phone that he operates the Web site, but he declined to discuss the post with WKOW.

Minutes after the interview ended, the entry was removed from Fingers' blog. But WKOW kept a printout of the post, a copy of which was provided to The Associated Press.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue lists Roland Fingers as No. 8 on its list of top 100 delinquent taxpayers. As of Monday evening, the list showed Fingers owing the state $1,448,097 in back income taxes, interest, penalties, fees and costs.

In his blog, the 60-year-old Fingers said the State Franchise Board in Wisconsin was clearly mistaken.

Revenue Department spokeswoman Meredith Helgerson said previously she is barred from discussing any specific taxpayer's situation. She confirmed earlier this month the department's Top 100 list was started in January 2006 and Fingers was added in July.

Fingers said he was leaving the matter to his lawyer.

"Right now, it's in my tax attorney's hands," he told WKOW from his Las Vegas home. "I'm not going to be able to talk to him until the end of the week. You know as much about it as I do."

Fingers, known for his handlebar mustache, was a closer for the Brewers from 1981-85. In his 17-year major league career, spent mostly as a reliever, Fingers helped the Oakland Athletics win three consecutive World Series titles from 1972-74.

He is eighth in career saves with 341 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press