Jack McKeon is an inspiration, not only because he's 80 years old and managing the Florida Marlins, but because he's not afraid to show his deep Catholic faith. The New York Times wrote a lovely and refreshing piece about him, which included stories of McKeon assisting his colleagues in their own faith journeys as well as his favorite churches in which to attend Mass, which he does almost daily:

Jack McKeon’s baseball days begin in a pew. At 8 on Tuesday morning, the Florida Marlins’ manager attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, less than 12 hours after his team beat the Mets on a 10th-inning grand slam. Such games are testament to his faith in the saint he prays to every game during the national anthem.

“A good night for St. Thérèse,” he said, sitting in the lounge of a Midtown Manhattan hotel.

In each major league city, McKeon has a favorite, or at least a convenient, Roman Catholic church. If he does not know their names, he can describe them or tell you how to get there. In Cincinnati, it’s SS. Peter and Paul. In Chicago, Mass is at Holy Name Cathedral. In Philadelphia, he goes to what he calls “the oldest church in the U.S.” When the Marlins stayed at a hotel on the East Side of Manhattan, he followed these directions: “Walk out the door, take a left, walk 30 yards, and take a right, where the homeless hang out.”

For each of the regular churches in his personal directory, he learns the Mass schedule.

“At St. Patrick’s it’s 7, 7:30, 8, noon and 12:30,” he said. “They’re very flexible.”

Read the rest here.

The article doesn't mention it, but baseball fans may be interested to know that McKeon also spoke about his faith in a 2007 documentary called "Champions of Faith," which talked to MLB players and magagers who are Christian. (The film also featured the catcher Mike Piazza, who is Catholic, and with whom I conducted an interview back when the film was released.)

Kerry Weber

Comments

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Anonymous | 8/3/2011 - 1:40pm
I was listening to the Met's announcers talk about McKeon as both hard working and a no nonsense manager.  He is not afraid to discipline or bench his players if he finds what they are doing not good for the team.  The announcers were saying this in respect for McKeon as an old time hard nosed manager.  Then they started talking about his work habits and how he is usually the first one at the park and went on to say the only reason he isn't there earlier is because he goes to Mass every morning.  It was a very respectful discussion of McKeon as a man who does what he thinks is right.  


There have been a lot of other Catholics in the sports world like him but I am afraid they are dying out.  As the article says, he is in his 80's.  Will we be able to say the same thing about anyone in 30 years.  I hope so.