According to popular ESPN sports writer Tim Kurkjian, "Everyone in baseball knows Rich Donnelly, and everyone loves him." Rich Donnelly is one of the most well known former major league baseball coaches in the world.
The athlete-turned-coach helped in the MLB (coaching and managing) for over 25 years and was a catcher in the minor league before that. While he was known for athletics, he was perhaps even more well known for his positive attitude, humility, and ability to tell a great story.
On Monday, Rich Donnelly suffered an immense tragedy- one that no parent ever wants to experience. The former coach got a phone call that his son, 38-year-old Mike, had died in an accident.
Mike was killed on Monday morning in Dallas, Texas. According to ESPN, he had stopped on the side of the road to help push a broken down vehicle off of the road. He was with two other strangers to help, including Lyndsee Longoria.
As they were working on getting the car off of the road, another car came storming toward them. Mike reportedly pushed Lyndsee to safety but he was struck and killed by the oncoming car. Lyndsee says that Mike saved her life.
Rich said that Mike, who was a kicker in high school and for Cumberland College, had fallen into trouble after his athletic career ended. He had spent some time in prison, and Rich said that he was constantly expecting a call that his son had "OD'd or someone had killed him." Rich said that he was just starting to see a turn around in his son's life.
Rich said, "A certain warmth came over me when I heard that he had died making such a wonderful gesture. Most people would have just kept driving. My son stopped to help. He has been in trouble for 20 years. But when he came over for Christmas, Peggy [his mother] told me that Mike was different. It was like something had touched him. I really felt like he was on his way back to being a good person."
While this story is sad on its own, it is particularly heartbreaking because Rich has already lost another child. Amy, Rich's daughter, was only 18 at the time of her death. In 1992, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. One year later, she passed away. Her legacy lived on through baseball with the popular term, "The chicken runs at midnight," something that she joked with her dad about. Rich also noted that his daughter was generous and full of love for everyone around her. When she was sick, she helped donate bicycles to a local children's hospital.
He said, "She showed me how to live. And she showed me how to die."
Rich always said that "everybody in the world has something." That has been exemplified by his kids, who were constantly serving others. Two of his other daughters risked their lives at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival and stayed behind to protect a stranger who had been shot. Now, his son has died while helping someone on the side of the road.
Please be praying for the Donnelly family as they deal with another difficult loss. And, let's all be inspired by the family's willingness to help others. They are an example of true kindness. Share your prayers with us! In other recent news, a paralyzed teen is speaking out to the "good Samaritan" who saved his life after his train derailed.