"It is incredible how far women have come, and women in sports have come"
If Yankee Stadium is "The House That Ruth Built," then The Ballpark at Rosemont, the nation's 1,600-seat, softball-only facility, can accurately be referred to as the "Jennie Finch House."
Finch was the most intimidating, dominant and recognizable softball pitcher of her era (2001-2010, ) Starring for the Chicago Bandits for five years, the keys to her success were five pitches—riser, curveball, screwball, drop-ball and changeup. For the Bandits, Finch regularly hit 70 mph on the radar gun. From 46 feet, the speed is comparable to a Nolan Ryan fastball.
"When I was 12, I had a coach tell me I would never be a championship pitcher. That devastated me. I was crushed."
What made her a pop culture icon, though, was a unique combination of charisma, pitching skills, beauty and charm. This combination landed Finch a place in the mainstream, signing endorsement deals and becoming the first female host of This Week In Baseball.
Now 32, despite her commitments as the mother to three children (her youngest, Paisley, was born in January,) , wife of former MLB star Casey Daigle, and leader of the "Bring Back Softball to the Olympics in 2020" movement, Finch never forgets her roots.
On Friday, August 16, she will return to the Ballpark at Rosemont to sign autographs at the Ballpark, located at 27 Jennie Finch Way. The Bandits take on the USSSA Pride at 7:35 p.m. and gates open at 6:00 p.m. with Finch and company signing autographs prior to the game.
The Jennie Finch camp will follow the next day.
Joining Finch and signing autographs will be former USA softball members Leah O’Brien Amico, Toni Mascarenas, Mackenzie Vandergeest and Crystl Bustos.
Finch earned a gold medal as a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Softball Team in Athens. She also is one of the most decorated players in NCAA softball history. A two-time recipient of the Honda Award, presented to the nation's best softball player, Finch holds the NCAA record for consecutive wins, with 60.
A two-time Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year at the University of Arizona, she was a three-time first-team All-American. In addition to being one of college-softball's most dominating pitchers, Finch also ranks seventh in Arizona history with 50 homeruns.
Finch played in the Bandits organization for five years from 2005-2010 and goes down as one of the most decorated players to ever play in a Bandits uniform. In her first season in 2005, she fanned 144 batters and turned in a 0.88 ERA in 95 innings of work, en route to the NPF's Co-Pitcher of the Year award. In 2007, She won seven games and posted an ERA of 0.11 while striking out 119 batters and only walking 10. In 2009, Finch helped guide the Bandits to a first-place finish and regular-season championship with a 27–12 record. She pitched a perfect game for the Bandits in 2009 against the Philadelphia Force and another perfect game on July 9, 2010 against the Akron Racers..
About the Chicago Bandits
Since 2005, the Chicago Bandits have been members of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. Located in the Chicagoland area, the Bandits provide an opportunity for female fastpitch players to further their careers at a professional level, and the roster has included such names as Jennie Finch, Stacy May and Monica Abbott. The two-time NPF Champions play at The Ballpark at Rosemont, the only stadium in the country built for a women's professional team.