Rich Donnelly

Episode 26

29 JUL 2019

Currently the manager of the Kingsport Mets, he coached in the major leagues for over 25 years, most recently as third base coach with the Seattle Mariners but other stops along the way that included a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 1997.  He was even a part of the Team USA coaching staff two years ago at the World Baseball Classic, which was won by the Americans.  Rich talks about tragedy that he and his family had to overcome, as well as coming back to his Catholic roots after he felt pressure to pick baseball over his faith – this despite being born and raised Catholic and at one time even considering going into the seminary.

Guest quotes:

“I had visions of being a priest until I went to the seminary and found out they didn’t have a baseball team.”

“When I got into pro (base)ball, I had this fallacy that you couldn’t be a man of faith and be a baseball player.”

“I would crawl on my hands and knees… all the way through a parking lot… to get into my car so nobody would see me go to church.”

“There was something inside of me that said, ‘Rich, the place where you love to be, besides a baseball field, is in church’.”

“When I was ten years old, I used to go after church, after Mass I would go down in the basement in my house… and I would celebrate the Mass with my Daily Missal… I would put on a robe and pretend I was a priest up on the altar.”

“I said, ‘Tell me the bottom line.  Quit beatin’ around the bush,’ and (the doctor) said, ‘Rich, she has nine months to live’.”

“I was blaming God for her getting the brain tumor.”

“The Lord was sending a message to me that, okay, now do you believe?  Now are you satisfied?  Now do you want to change your life?”

“When was I most happy?  The first 16 years of my life, when I was in church every day, when I was praying.  I said three decades of the rosary every day.  I said my morning prayers, my evening prayers.  I talked to God all day.  And, I had a patron saint, Saint Jude, the patron of hopeless cases, which I surely was.”

“I have a saying that I use daily… I say there’s two kinds of people; those that are humble, and those that are about to be.”

“You can’t reach perfection.  You can’t reach perfection in sports and you cannot reach it in your life.”

“No parent can call up a major league organization and say, ‘Could you put my kid in the big leagues?’  It doesn’t work that way.  It’s like, everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die to get there.”

Related link:

“The Chicken Runs at Midnight” book

[This episode contains a prayer (poem) by Central Catholic High School (Pittsburgh, PA) Principal Ed Bernot, as seen in Play Like A Champion Today’s prayerbook for sports, God, Be In My Sport]

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