Meet 'Dot' Finerty, almost 100, and whose Dodgers links predate Scully

Meet 'Dot' Finerty, almost 100, and whose Dodgers links predate Scully
Dorothy "Dot" Finerty will be wearing No. 100 when she throws out the first pitch Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. Finerty was born in the same year Babe Ruth made his major league debut -- 1914. (Chris Erskine / Los Angeles Times)

Let me introduce you to Dorothy "Dot" Finerty. The crafty right-hander turns 100 this month, and will celebrate by throwing out the first pitch at Wednesday's noon game against the Nationals.

She's been practicing a month for her Major League debut, and reports coming out of Claremont say her stuff is mostly magic. Her pickoff move is a little weak but at that age, whose isn't?


I was out with her the other day as she worked on her two-seam fastball with old friends Mo LeBlanc and Patricia Dillon.

LeBlanc pitched for Stanford, so he's been working with her once a week for about a month, and sees significant potential in Dot, most likely in a relief role because she has just the one pitch, yet spots it impressively.

I clocked her fastball, visually, at 8 mph, a little below most Major League heaters. But she throws it for strikes, and it drops through the zone the way Harry Caray used to barrel roll for another Bud.

That's the scouting report on Dot, who never tired during the simulated game she threw for scouts Monday. Keep your Cuban sensations, or that overpitched teen phenom you like out of Fresno. I'll take Dot, the best and only prospect I've ever found.

Dot has a pretty remarkable back story. In Brooklyn, she predates Scully. I thought only concrete predated Scully.

You remember 1914, right? Like it was yesterday.

That was the year Ford Motor Co. doubled the daily wage to $5. Charlie Chaplin and Babe Ruth made their pro debuts. By the end of the year, the world was engulfed in war.

And on a little street in Brooklyn, Dot was born to a salesman father and a mother who wouldn't make it through the day.

Dad remarried and had six more kids. As a child, Dot and her siblings would gather around the radio as their father A.J. narrated the game.

"When we were kids, he built a crystal set," she recalls, and she and her siblings would gather around as dad played broadcaster, relaying what he heard over the headphones — the radio had no speaker.

"That was my introduction to the Dodgers," she says.

As the oldest of seven, she grew up playing sandlot baseball in Brooklyn, became feisty and fearless. Finished nursing school, bought a Ford, drove it so wildly that her brothers dubbed her "Demon."

In 1941, Demon Dot pointed her Ford toward L.A, after agreeing to bring out a girlfriend who was moving here.

She stayed, married a utilities manager by the name of Fred Finerty, and started a family. Almost two decades later, the Dodgers would join her.


As a working mother, she would return to their Covina home after late nursing shifts to find her son Tom had fallen asleep to the Dodgers game. She'd reach over, switch the transistor off and tuck him in.

So, there you have it, Dot's 100-year baseball resume. Kid outta nowhere, now headed for her Chavez Ravine debut. If AARP had a Miss September, she'd be a shoo-in.

These days, Dot lives by herself, has a little outside help a couple of hours a week, but otherwise manages on her own.

Each evening, at game time, she pours herself a glass of wine, flips on the TV, and waits for, "It's time for Dodger baseball!" the opening notes to a symphony she's been enjoying for almost 100 years.

Another sign of her continuing good fortune: She's one of the minority of fans who receive Dodgers telecasts.

Dot credits family, friends and good genes for her mostly injury-free run — her kid sister Dawn is 97. Until breaking a hip two years ago, Dot also swam every day.

"One of her secrets is that age doesn't define her," says her son Tom, 65.

"She an inspiration and doesn't know it," he says. "Her normal way is to deflect attention, so this 100th birthday is a chance for us to really pour on the attention and show her what she means to us."

As with many modern ballplayers, she'll have an entourage with her Wednesday, nearly three dozen friends and family sitting with her in Aisle 134 of the Loge Section on her special day.

While out on the field, wearing No. 100 (of course), Dot Finerty will be loosening up her whip-like right arm for yet another milestone in her 100-year Dodgers career.

And, from all reports, she's got at least one great pitch left.