NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CNS) – The Blessed Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center in New Haven has opened an online exhibit focusing on the Knights of Columbus connection with baseball, which spans nearly a century and a half.
The center, at Knights’ headquarters, is named after the founder of the Brotherhood, a candidate for the weekend.
“Baseball unites people. Whether it’s on a professional ball field, a community diamond or a church picnic, baseball brings people together in activity and in spirit,” said a press release announcing the exhibition. “Blessed Michael McGivney (1852-1890) realized this. He played the game as a seminarian and introduced it to others during the priesthood. ”
Andrew Fowler, a content producer for the Knights of Columbus Communications Department, has researched Blissful McGivney’s attraction to baseball.
In a four-part series, “Knights of Columbus Baseball: An American Story,” Fowler tells the Catholic-American story of how the Knights of Columbus as an organization and individual Knights – including some of baseball’s most powerful heroes – went up on the plate to produce memorable moments and shape the sport “for the better.”
The series, accompanied by many photographs and illustrations, is free and can be viewed online michaelmcgivneycenter.org.
The first segment, which opened on October 1, describes Blessed McGivney’s personal experiences with the game and the appeal it had among the members of his new organization.
Many who followed him shared his devotion to the game. Some enjoyed it socially and recreationally; others pursued it passionately, even in the Hall of Fame, the release says. “For the Knights of Columbus, the game served as an early path of assimilation for Catholic immigrants and first-generation Americans.
“Today, baseball continues to serve as a path toward spiritual bond and friendship for the Knights and their families. These values come from Father McGivney, who founded the fraternity according to the principles of charity and unity.”
Subsequent segments of Fowler’s series, to be introduced at key points during the 2022 Major League Baseball season, will explore the growth of the game as a professional sport and chronicle development during important events in American and world history.
Some of the past and present baseball stars who were the Knights themselves include: right fielder George Herman “Babe” Ruth; first baseman Gil Hodges; third baseman “Scranton Bill” Coughlin; mugge Ed Walsh; executives John “Mugsy” McGraw, Danny Murtaugh and Connie Mack; and catcher / first baseman / designated hitter Mike Sweeney.