Bill Finley

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William James Finley

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Biographical Information[edit]

Bill Finley, who was at Manhattan College in 1882-85 and Columbia University in 1886, is the second major leaguer out of Manhattan College and the first major leaguer out of Columbia University. He played for the 1886 New York Giants beginning in July.

Finley, listed at 5 ' 3 " tall, is tied for the honor as the shortest major league ballplayer ever (excluding Eddie Gaedel, who was a special case). His nickname was apparently "Dick" - Sporting Life explained cryptically that "he is called 'Dick' because his name is William".

He appeared mostly at catcher and in center field. At catcher he was a back-up for Buck Ewing. The team also featured future Hall of Famers Roger Connor, Jim O'Rourke, Tim Keefe and Mickey Welch.

Sporting Life in 1897 reported that he would play amateur ball for a Staten Island club. He died in 1912 of a heart attack.

"The battery work of Ayrault and Finley was specially commendable. The last-named also led the batting." - Sporting Life, April 21, 1886, about a game between the major league New York team and the Columbia college team, in which Finley played well - in the same issue Sporting Life also quoted The New York Times as saying Finley was considered by many to be the best amateur catcher in the country, and better than many professionals

"Finley, formerly catcher for the Jaspers, of Manhattan College and Columbia College teams, was signed by New York yesterday. New York is now tolerably well equipped with batteries. Ewing and O'Rourke will continue to alternate as centre field and catcher." - Sporting Life, June 30, 1886

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