Frank Pati “Mr. Softball”
by Elspeth Kuta
We receive true treasures at the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum, one-of-a-kind gifts that are quite unique to the valley. Frank Pati’s quilt fits this description. It is made from the T-shirts issued yearly to commemorate the Mesquite Senior Games from 2002 through 2013. Frank was president of that organization for all but one of those years. What a little gem of history!
The Mesquite Senior Games are now in their 17th year, and are open to athletes 50 years old and better. The competition is generally male and female divisions in five-year age groups starting at ages 50 through 54, giving senior athletes an opportunity to test their skills, compete, and enjoy the companionship of fellow athletes during the month of March.
Frank Pati gifted his treasured quilt in memory of his beloved wife Betty Ann. The quilt was made for him by Claire Kirchen to acknowledge and appreciate his years of service to senior athletes when he became the first recipient of the Nevada Senior Citizen Award in 2012.
According to the Nevada delegation of the Silver Haired Congress and the Aging Services Directors Organization, Pati was honored for his years of selfless service with the Mesquite Senior Games, Senior Softball, and for promoting physical fitness among older Nevadans. Frank introduced Mesquite to a hundred softball teams annually and virtually thousands of softball players have competed.
Frank and his wife Betty Ann moved from Palm Springs, California to Mesquite in 1993. Frank said he was working for Si Redd’s Oasis Hotel and Casino on Mesquite Boulevard in 1994 when he suggested senior softball as a way to bring visitors to the city. The first softball games were played later that year.
Pati said softball was a hit from day one. “When we first started, we were doing five tournaments a year,” Frank said. “We grew so fast that about 10 years later we brought in the Senior Softball USA Organization. They are the largest in the country. I talked them into coming to Mesquite,” the then 79-year old Pati said in 2014 at his retirement from the Senior Games. “They laughed when I suggested bringing softball to Mesquite as a way to increase visitation. They stopped laughing when all the people started coming and kept coming.”
In addition to senior softball, Pati was instrumental in the annual Senior Games in Mesquite that includes not only softball, but also bocce ball, pickleball, basketball, track and field, bowling, long drive for seniors, pistol shooting, poker, bridge, bicycling, shotgun sports, hiking and historical tour, and this year’s new event, table tennis.
Frank’s vision, commitment, and tenacity has seen the program grow and has brought hundreds of senior athletes to our corner of the world, many of whom have made Mesquite their home. Frank has left a rock-solid foundation for the continued growth and development of the the Mesquite Senior Games.
At a spry 92, Frank has returned to Palm Springs — their gain, our loss. There are people who no matter where they go, inspire those around them to be a little better version of themselves. Frank and Betty Ann are those kind of people.
Thank you, Frank, for making Mesquite part of your journey.