Rich Donnelly Biography
Rich Donnelly coached in the Major Leagues for over 25 years, most recently as the third base coach for the Seattle Mariners. Other teams have included the Los Angeles Dodgers (2006-2007), Milwaukee Brewers (2003-2005), 14 seasons (1986-1999) for Jim Leyland’s staff with three different organizations (Pittsburgh, Florida, Colorado), earning a World Series ring with Florida in 1997, first base coach for the Texas Rangers (1983-1985) and manager in the Texas Rangers minor league system from 1972-1982 where he was honored as the Western Carolinas League Manager of the Year from 1972-74.
Rich Donnelly and his wife Bert have eight children: Bubba, Amy, John, Tiffany, Mike, Leigh Anne, Tim, and Adam. Donnelly graduated from Steubenville Catholic Central High School in Ohio where he played baseball and basketball. He then received a Bachelor’s Degree in education from Xavier University in Cincinnati. Donnelly was signed as a catcher by the Minnesota Twins in 1967 and played four seasons in the minor leagues. Donnelly also is rated in the top ten racquetball players over 50 in the United States. There is also a wonderful story regarding Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers and Donnelly's Family.
In 1993 Donnelly's daughter, Amy passed away of brain cancer at age 17. Before she passed she attended a playoff game Donnelly was coaching at third base. Amy noticed Donnelly would cup his hands and talk to the players on base. After the game, Amy inquired: "Dad, what were you saying to the players on base? The chicken runs at midnight or something like that?" That became the family rallying cry during Amy's illness. In 1997, when Craig Counsell joined the Marlins, his path crossed Donnelly's as he was the 3rd base coach for the Marlins. Counsell was nicknamed "the chicken" by Donnelly's son, Tim, who at age 10 was the honorary bat boy that evening for good luck. Counsell was called the chicken because of the way his left arm flapped around when he was up at bat. When Edgar Renteria hit the winning hit for the Marlins, Counsell crossed home with the game winner. Tim then rushed out to his Dad to hug him and congratulate him. Tim then exclaimed to his Dad Rich: "Dad, look up at the clock, its 12 o’clock midnight, the Chicken runs at Midnight". Donnelly's eyes teared over as he realized he had received a message from his daughter Amy from heaven. To this day Donnelly and Counsell get goosebumps every time they return to Dolphin Stadium in Miami and see the clock and on Amy's tombstone the inscription reads "the chicken runs at midnight".
Rich is currently the Bench Coach for the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones.