Discover the nearly unbelievable true story of how a goofy catchphrase spoken by a coach's dying daughter inspired the 1992 Pittsburgh Pirates in game seven of the National League Championship Series and later became a sign from heaven to a grieving family at the end of game seven of the 1997 World Series.
As a Major League Baseball coach, Rich Donnelly was dedicated, hardworking, and successful. But as a husband and father, he was distant, absent, and a failure. He'd let baseball take over his life, and as a result, his family suffered--that is, until the day he received some harrowing news.
Dad, I have a brain tumor, and I'm sorry. These words from his seventeen-year-old daughter, Amy, turned his world upside down. Now, more than ever, he was determined to put his family first.
The time they spent together in the months before Amy's death were moments that Rich and his family will treasure forever, but they'll especially remember the inside joke that became a catchphrase for not only the Donnelly family but also the Pittsburgh Pirates as they played in the National League Championship Series that year: The chicken runs at midnight.
This book shares the heartwarming story behind the odd catchphrase--and how it still lives on as a symbol for never giving up--and proves that God can work in any person's life, even despite their mistakes and failures. As you learn more about Amy's incredible story, you'll discover:
Weaving baseball history with personal memoir, this book is one that will make you thrill to victory, believe in hope, and stand up to cheer for what is good in people's lives. It reminds us that God can work in our lives even when we think it's too late to change--and sometimes he sends us signs from heaven, if we only have eyes to see.
Praise for The Chicken Runs at Midnight:
The Chicken Runs at Midnight is a beautiful story of baseball, family, and faith. Tom Friend does a wonderful job of weaving these three themes together and telling you a story that will give you the chills. You will cry; you will laugh; and you will tell the story over and over again--just as I have.
--Craig Counsell, manager of the Milwaukee Brewers
The Chicken Runs at Midnight is the kind of heartwarming story all of us need, not just baseball fans. In our loud, busy world, it's a poignant reminder of what is truly important.
--Tom Verducci, bestselling author of The Yankee Years and The Cubs Way
Rich Donnelly was a minor league catcher who never quite got the chance to play in the big leagues. So he became obsessed with reaching the Major Leagues as a coach. While climbing the ladder to his dream job as third base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he became mostly an absentee father who was eventually divorced by his wife. Worse yet, he had a falling out with his only daughter, Amy, who was unafraid to tell her father where he fell short and how he could improve.
Then it happened. In March of 1992, seventeen-year-old Amy called her dad to tell him she was going to have brain surgery. A tumor had been found. In October, Rich invited her to Game Five of the 1992 NLCS between the Pirates and the Atlanta Braves. That's when an unlikely cheer was born. From the stands, Amy observed her dad yelling instructions to the runners on second base and jokingly asked him afterwards if he was telling them, "The chicken runs at midnight." The saying stuck. In late January of 1993, Amy died, but not before her dad and her three brothers had let the battle cry be etched into their lives. It stood for never giving in. It stood for challenging your obstacles. It stood for Amy.
Rich renewed his life of faith, speaking out for God and what he could do in a person's life if the person paid attention. Four years later, in 1997, after Coach Donnelly had become third base coach for the Florida Marlins, he and his sons brought the battle cry of the chicken with them. That year, the Marlins reached the World Series against Cleveland, a classic that culminated with a seventh game that went extra innings. And the Marlins won that final game when a player nicknamed "Chicken" crossed home plate at exactly twelve midnight. The chicken had run at midnight.
The Chicken Runs at Midnight will make you thrill to victory, believe in hope, stand up to cheer for what is good in peoples' lives, and conclude that God can work in the life of any person, even through his mistakes, even when he's not paying attention, even when he thinks it's too late to turn around.