Jennie Finch was born on September 3, 1980, in La Mirada, California. The daughter of Doug and Bev Finch, she has two brothers, Shane and Landon, who are both married.
Jennie played a variety of sports from a young age, but her focus was on softball. By age 12, she was already playing competitively at the national level. In 1992, her team, the California Cruisers, finished fourth in the American Softball Association 12-and-under National Championship; in 1993, the Cruisers won the ASA Championship. Jennie and her teammates repeated their victory in 1995, in the under-14 category.
Attending La Mirada High School in the mid-’90s, Jennie took her athletic achievement to new heights. She excelled not only in softball — where she played pitcher, first baseman and shortstop — but volleyball and basketball too, earning multiple school letters in all three sports. In 1997, she was captain of her volleyball team, and in 1998, her senior year, she was team captain in volleyball, basketball and softball.
Jennie’s softball team won their league championship every year she played with them, and she was named MVP in 1997 and 1998. Thanks to these achievements, Jennie was named her school’s Female Athlete of the Year and Athletics Director’s Female Athlete of the Year for 1998. Her high school career record was 50 wins, 12 losses, with six perfect games, 13 no-hitters, a 0.15 ERA and 784 strikeouts.
Jump magazine picked Jennie as its number one high school recruit in 1998, and she moved on to justify that praise in college. Majoring in communications at the University of Arizona, she helped her team reach the NCAA Women’s College World Series from 1999-2002.
In 2001, she had an incredible year: after winning the NCAA World Series, she was named its most outstanding player. At the same time, she won the ASA Major National Championship with the Phoenix Storm. At 32-0, Jennie set an NCAA record for most wins in a season without a defeat. In 2001 and 2002, she won the prestigious Honda Award for the nation’s best softball player, and she finished her college career holding the NCAA record for most consecutive wins, with 60.
A member of Team USA since 2001, Jennie has cemented her position as one of the world’s best. In October 2002, she was signed on as the first female correspondent on the long-running show This Week in Baseball. Her segment, “Pitch, Hit, and Run with Jennie Finch,” features Jennie illustrating ballpark fundamentals with a different Major League Baseball player every week.
As an added attraction, the MLB stars go against Jennie and her 70 mph riseball. Pitched from a regulation 43 feet, most strike out. One, Seattle Mariner Mike Cameron, declared “there’s no way a girl could hit this,” while when it was Texas Ranger Alex Rodriguez’s turn, he only watched. But he pledged to have a real at-bat against Jennie if she wins a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics; looks like that’ll have to schedule that some time soon, as Jennie and Team USA won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Meanwhile, Jennie’s already found her favorite baseball player: Arizona Diamondbacks minor leaguer Casey Daigle, whom she’s engaged to.