Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers was one strikeout shy of 1,300 in his 17-year baseball career, and he didn’t pick up any more K’s at Pathfinder Village in Edmeston on Monday.
Fingers, a 1992 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, pitched an inning of Wiffleball for the village residents during his tour of the facilities on Monday as part of his ambassador duties for the 31st annual Otesaga Hotel Senior Open, Pro-Am and Tennis Classic, which started Tuesday in Cooperstown.
The tournaments benefit the Pathfinder Village Scholarship Fund and the National Baseball Hall of Fame Education Program.
“Rollie, they’re all hitting off of you,” joked Pathfinder CEO Paul Landers, who led the 90-minute tour for Fingers, his companion, Donna Hackney, and donor William Cole and his family.
“It’s just like the old days,” Fingers replied.
“They all had smiles on their faces,” Fingers said later. “It was a fun afternoon for me, but I did get ripped by the batters. I didn’t strike anybody out, and a couple of them could really hit.”
Fingers, who also serves as the national spokesman for the child safety organization KinderVision, said he enjoys getting out to charity events.
“It is win, win for both of us,” he said. “It is an unbelievable place. There is a place in Las Vegas, near where I live, called Opportunity Village. It is probably 10 acres. This is about 300 acres. It is a beautiful facility.”
“Marian was 55 when she started building this,” Landers said of former Pathfinder executive director Marian G. Mullet. “They thought she was crazy. Can you imagine? I would have thought that too. The amazing thing is the village today, every building and every tree is how she envisioned it.”
The village dates back to a two-room school house founded in 1922, but Mullet expanded it in the 1970s. As a home for adults and a school for kids with Down syndrome and other disabilities, it currently has more than 80 full-time residents and about 15 students.