Peter Finn, Player - Midland, MI
Written by: Katie Finn
Growing up on a dairy farm in his hometown of Bath, Ontario, Peter Finn stumbled upon the game of softball thanks to his older sisters; Mary and Ann were the first softball players in the Finn family. Mary, who was a catcher, was in need of a pitcher to practice with; Peter gladly picked up the ball, and fell in love with the sport. Softball became so important to Peter that as he got older, the family only hired summer farm help who would be able to work on the farm as well as be his catcher at the end of the day.
Peter’s softball career didn’t start out on such a high note. In one of his earliest pitching debuts as an eight year-old in Bath, Ontario, he remembers losing 30-0 to his nine and ten year old opponents. However, after many years of practice he began to improve, and in 1977 he threw a no-hitter in the final game to help Napanee, Ontario win the Midget C All Ontario. Also that summer, Peter saw his first glimpse of the longer games in softball, losing 1-0 to a team from Toronto after 17 innings. That same team and pitcher were to appear later in Peter’s softball career only with a different outcome, in the final game of the 1980 Canadian Junior National Championship.
In 1978, he led Napanee to the Ontario Junior C Championship, once again pitching a no-hitter in the final game. In 1979, he played in Grimsby, Ontario and his team finished third in the Ontario Junior A Championship. Returning to Napanee in 1980, led his team to the Ontario Junior A Championship, beating a left hander from Owen Sound, back to back in the championship games. Peter also played for St. Catharines that summer, and won the Canadian Junior National Championship. During that tournament, Peter set a National strikeout record with 18 strikeouts in seven innings; as well as having a personal first, hitting a solo home run in the same game.
In 1981, Peter moved to Midland, Michigan to play for Newton Mapes, the owner of Valley Mechanical. Valley Mechanical finished third in the ISC tournament that year. Peter pitched a seven hour, twenty minute, 34 inning game, the longest game in softball ISC history. Highlighted by 64 strikeouts, the 2-1 win over The Farm from Madison, Wisconsin is the most memorable game of Peter’s softball career. What Peter remembers most about the game is Rod Johnson saving the game in the eleventh inning, throwing a Madison runner out at the plate to keep the game tied at 1-1. Also, how well the opposing pitcher, Peter Meredith, pitched from the twenty-first to the thirty-second inning allowing only three Valley Mechanical Contracting base hits. This victory helped Peter to set the tournament record of 126 strikeouts. That year Peter made first team All-World.
In 1982, Peter began playing for the Midland Explorers in Midland, Michigan. The Explorers finished fifth in the ASA tournament that year, and Peter led the tournament in strikeouts, helping him to make first team All-American. Peter played for St. Louis, Missouri during the ISC tournament of 1983, finishing second. He led the tournament in strikeouts, and once again made first team All-World. Merced, California became home to Peter during the summers of 1984 and 1985. The Merced Kings won the ASA National Championship in 1984, Peter pitched the final game to a 1-0 win in eighteen innings over Aurora, Illinois. The Kings placed fifth the following year in the ASA National.
From 1986 until 1993, Peter was found on the field for the Midland Explorers. In 1988 and 1991, the Explorers placed fifth in the ISC and ASA tournaments, respectively. In 1991, Peter played in his last tournament for Canada. As a member of Team Canada, he received a Gold Medal in the Pan-American Games in Cuba. Peter became a player manager for the Explorers during the summers of 1992 and 1993, helping the Explorers to a third place finish in ASA National in 1993.
Softball has taken Peter too many different softball fields throughout the world in his life, and has helped to introduce him to many outstanding people, players, coaches, and sponsors. Specifically, Newton Mapes of Valley Mechanical who helped to show Peter his current home town of Midland, Michigan; Bob Dallas of Merced Kings who helped coach and sponsor the team to an ASA National Championship; and Lefty Bartos who had such an enormous impact on helping to keep softball alive in Midland at the national level.
Peter would like to thank the ISC for the honor of being a member of their Hall of Fame, as well as for providing the numerous, high-quality softball tournaments throughout the years. Peter currently resides in Midland, Michigan with his wife, Debra, and two children, Katie and Jake.