The ISC is saddened by the passing of Hall of Famer Rod Peterson, owner, sponsor, manager and player with The Farm Tavern, of Madison, Wisconsin.
Rod bought The Farm Tavern in 1975 and his teams were a fixture among the best in the world with three ISC Championships to their credit, in 1997, 1999 and 2008. He was inducted into the ISC Hall of Fame as field manager in 1994.
The 1997 championship was described by Peterson as “the greatest thrill I’d ever had in my life,” an experience celebrated by “drinking champagne out of cups and dancing at a club until 4:00 am, It was quite an ordeal.”
The Farm had 14 Final Four finishes between 1982 – 2008, a remarkable run of consistency, including 12 times in 13 seasons from 1996 – 2008.
Peterson was drawn to the game by a friend in the early 1960’s. He became a first baseman,and in 1966 he became manager of the Music Box Tavern team in the Madison city recreation league. That role fit him just fine and it has fit so very well ever since. The indelible image of the powerfully built Peterson, hat pulled down over his eyes, with an intense and competitive visage strolling to the coaching box or to the mound is one that every follower of the top levels of the game knows very well.
He has seen, managed, or opposed all of the great ones over the many decades of the game, including Paul Algar, Korrey Gareau, Peter Meredith, Todd Martin and Kevin Herlihy among many who donned the Farm colors, while Colin Abbott and Tim Wahl were among the top Farm hitters and each captured ISC MVP Awards playing for Peterson.
In 2008, Peterson reflected on what he would tell his younger self “I would tell him if he’s in it for the long haul, he must be honest and loyal to his ball players. Treat every player the same. If you get a bad apple, get rid of him as soon as possible since one player can ruin a whole club. Be sure to get every guy on the roster playing time so that every player is contributing to what you are trying to do – – – win championships! And listen to your players – – someone might have a better idea than you. I tell my players I will listen to you and think about it, and if I feel it is a good idea, I will try it. But they must know that the final decision has to be the manager’s – – that a ball club is the biggest dictatorship you will ever see. There are no team votes; there has to be one man running the show. And if you are fair, nobody has a problem with it. Also when it comes to World or National tournaments, the manager has a responsibility to all players to put the best team on the field. You can’t be worried about someone’s feelings then. And lastly, don’t give up on a player because he has a bad year. Just about every player has a bad year now and then. I think some managers give up on some players too soon.”