Herd baseball’s Finfer has no regrets passing on MLB in favor of collegiate career, education


Brittanie Fowler

Marshall catcher Sam Finfer makes contact with a pitch in a game earlier this season.

The MLB Draft can be an exciting, depressing, surprising and emotional experience for baseball players all over the country. Kids start out playing the sport when they learn how to walk in hopes of one day making it to the big leagues.

For many players that dream doesn’t come true. But for one of Marshall’s own, it may have come true a little too soon.

Sam Finfer, a junior catcher and outfielder from Bellevue, Washington, started playing baseball at a really young age just like many of his friends. He found enjoyment out of more than just baseball though.

“I was about 4 years old when I first started playing baseball,” Finfer said.  “In elementary school I played baseball, soccer and hockey, but eventually gave up soccer for football and hockey for basketball.

“I ended up quitting football after my freshman year of high school but played basketball all the way through.  Basketball may be my favorite sport to play.  I used to want to be a musician but didn’t have the talent to pull that off.”

Finfer attended Interlake High School in Bellevue where he led the team to its first state appearance in 25 years.  He hit .486 and earned the Interlake Golden Spikes Award as the best offensive and defensive player on the team.

In the summer of 2013, Finfer, a then recently graduated senior, had the honor of being drafted in the 29th round of the 2013 MLB Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. But although his dream of playing professional baseball came true, Finfer said he had other plans in mind.

“At the time I didn’t feel that I was mature enough as a person or as a player to begin a professional career,” Finfer said. “My education had always been important to me and I didn’t think I was ready to pass up on the opportunity to get my degree.

“But more than anything I was just excited to have the honor of being drafted.  The whole experience was just surreal.”

Finfer went on to continue his education and baseball career at Seattle University and Bellevue College before making his way to Huntington, West Virginia.

“Coach (Tim) Donnelly came out and saw me at my junior college in Seattle, which is how I initially got hooked up with Marshall,” Finfer said. “He seemed like a really personable guy and somebody that I would want to play for, so I ended up committing to the school on my 20th birthday.”

It’s been three years since the Bellevue native was selected into the draft, but he said he sometimes wonders what life would be like for him if he would’ve decided to go professional.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say I have any regrets, but I do often wonder what my life and career would be like had I elected to go pro rather than going to school,” Finfer said. “I have had a lot of great experiences and made a lot of relationships that I will have for the rest of my life in college, so I can’t say I regret that decision.”

But if the opportunity does not arise again to play professionally, Finfer said he doesn’t want to veer away from the game.

“I have always thought that getting into coaching would be something I would enjoy,” Finfer said. ”Being able to stay around the game and have a positive influence on young players would be something I would love to do.”

Brittanie Fowler can be contacted at [email protected].