Rich Donnelly, a former Major League Baseball player and coach, will be the guest speaker at a luncheon as part of the Friends of the Poor Day, Saturday, Oct. 6, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, 4491 Springfield Road, Glen Allen.

The day, sponsored by the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society conference, will begin with the second annual Walk for the Poor at 11 a.m. on the parish grounds. Proceeds from the walk will be used to assist local poor with food, rent and utility bills. The luncheon will begin at noon.

Donnelly, a lifelong Catholic, fell away from his faith as a young adult. He married and started a family. Then he learned that Amy, his second child, had a brain tumor.

Amy was battling her illness when she went to a game at which Donnelly was coaching third base for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Mystified by what her father was secretly communicating to players trying to advance from second base to third. she joked that it appeared as though he was saying, “The chicken runs at midnight.”

Donnelly’s family adopted the phrase. Later, Donnelly’s new team, the Florida Marlins, adopted it, too.

In 1997, four years after Amy died at the age of 17, the Marlins won the World Series in the 11th inning of the seventh game. It happened when Craig Counsell, nicknamed “Chicken,” crossed home plate precisely at midnight. The event reinvigorated Donnelly’s faith. 

He travels the country full time sharing his inspirational story. His book, “The Chicken Runs at Midnight,” will be released Oct. 3. Copies will also be available for purchase at the Friends of the Poor luncheon.

Tickets for the luncheon are $15, but the fee will be waived for those who walk or who raise or donate at least $15 for the walk. (One need not participate in the walk in order to attend the luncheon). Ticket information is available at or by calling (804) 527-1037.