Greatest Moments in Marlins History: #34 The Chicken Runs at Midnight


Feb 20, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners Rich Donnelly (84) poses for a picture during photo day at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. Sometime a story comes along that didn’t happen on the field that just needs to be told. When I heard this story form a fellow Marlins fan, it brought a tear to my eye. For moment 34 today we bring you the story of “The Chicken Runs at Midnight”.

The story begins when Rich Donnelly was the third base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates. His daughter, Amy, always noticed him yelling at the runner on second base, but could never hear what he said. One day Amy asked him “Dad, what are you yelling at the runners? The chicken runs at midnight?” No one knows where that phrase came from, and people just chalk it up to Amy being Amy. In Spring Training of 1992, Amy was diagnosed with a brain tumor and sadly died 9 months later at the age of 18. Then 1997 came around and Rich was the third base coach for the Marlins.

Craig Counsell was given the nick name The Chicken by the Donnelly family because when he would wait for a pitch he would flap his elbow like a chicken. Most Marlins fans know that in 1997 Craig scored the winning run for the Marlins to win the World Series. The coach that waved The Chicken home? Rich Donnelly! What makes the story even more emotional is that Rich’s son Tim stormed the field right after Counsell scored to be with his father and notice something on the clock. He told his dad to look, and the clock read midnight. The Chicken ran at midnight.

Every time I hear or tell this story I do get a bit emotional. Could this be Amy saying that she is proud and is always watching over her family? This is moving story to hear.