|Catcher / Coach|
|Born: August 3, 1946|
Richard Francis Donnelly (born August 3, 1946, at Steubenville, Ohio) is an American professional baseball coach. On March 7, 2014, he was named third-base coach of the Seattle Mariners, replacing John Stearns. He served in the post for two seasons, through 2015, before his release on October 9, 2015. Donnelly was a Major League Baseball (MLB) coach for over 25 years, and was a catcher during his active career in minor league baseball.
Donnelly had been slated to spend 2014 as manager of the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League, the Mariners' Triple-A affiliate. However, Stearns underwent hiatal hernia surgery prior to spring training on February 24, and his slower-than-expected recovery caused him to step down to a professional scouting post with the Mariners. Donnelly was then named to take his place on the staff of manager Lloyd McClendon, whose playing tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1990-1994) coincided with Donnelly's service on Jim Leyland's coaching staff.
Prior to joining the Mariners' organization in 2014, Donnelly spent three seasons (2011-2013) as manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League, Short Season-A farm club of the New York Mets.
Donnelly was signed as a catcher by the Minnesota Twins in 1967 and played four seasons in the Twins' and Washington Senators' minor league systems, compiling a .224 career batting average with two home runs and 73 runs batted in in 313 games played.
Donnelly managed in the Texas Rangers farm system from 1972 to 1979 and 1981 to 1982. He was honored as the Western Carolinas League Manager of the Year from 1972 to 1974. He led the Class A Gastonia Rangers to the league title in 1974. He managed the Rangers Class AAA affiliate from 1976 to 1979 and 1981 to 1982.
Donnelly was the bullpen coach for the Texas Rangers in 1980. He served as the first base coach for the Rangers from 1983-1985. Donnelly spent 14 seasons on Jim Leyland's staff with three organizations--Pittsburgh (1986-1996), Florida (1997-1998) and Colorado (1999). He earned a World Series ring with Florida in 1997. He remained with the Rockies through 2002.
He was a third base coach for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2003 to 2005 and for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2006 and 2007, then worked in player development for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2008 to 2010. From 2011 to 2013, Donnelly was the manager of the short-season Class A Brooklyn Cyclones. He was named manager of the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers on January 16, 2014. He became the Seattle Mariners third base coach on March 7, 2014. Donnelly rejoined the Brooklyn Cyclones for their 2018 season as the Bench Coach to manager Edgardo Alfonzo. The Mets promoted Donnelly to Manager of the Kingsport Mets for 2019.
Perhaps the best known story of Donnelly is his experience coaching the Florida Marlins in the 1997 World Series. His 17-year-old daughter, Amy, died of a brain tumor in 1993. Amy attended a 1992 playoff game in which Rich was coaching. She noticed that he would cup his hands over his mouth while yelling out instructions to runners on second base. After the game, she asked, "Dad, what are you telling them? That the chicken runs at midnight, or what?" Since her death, the Donnelly family would deem that as her catchphrase and serve inspiration for the family.
In 1997, as a member of the Florida Marlins, he met Craig Counsell, a player his son Tim nicknamed "Chicken" because of his unique batting stance. In the 11th inning of Game 7, Counsell reached base and was able to advance to third base as the inning progressed. Edgar Rentería then hit a single on which Counsell scored, winning the World Series for the Marlins. Rich's sons Tim and Mike, who were honorary bat boys that evening, rushed to their father in celebration. Tim pointed out to the stadium clock which read 12:00 midnight, telling his father, "The Chicken ran at midnight, dad." Donnelly believes that Amy was sending him a message from Heaven, and this experience has strengthened his faith in God.Donnelly's story was written in a book called, The Chicken Runs at Midnight by Tom Friend. The book was released on October 2, 2018.
Donnelly's son, Michael, was killed in a car accident on January 7, 2018, at age 38. Michael, along with another passerby he did not know, had stopped to help a motorist, when a car sped at them at 65 MPH. Michael pushed the other person helping, a woman, to safety, and was hit and killed.
In addition to his daughter and son who have died, Rich Donnelly and his wife have six living children. Two of those six, both girls, were at the Las Vegas concert in 2017 where 58 people were murdered by a deranged gunman, with dozens more injured. A woman just in front of Donnelly's daughters was shot in the face before people realized what was happening. The girls jumped on top of the woman to protect her from further shots, then, after the shooting stopped, applied tourniquets, saving her life.