Move over, Sister Jean. There’s a new Chicago-area nun making headlines in the sports world.
That would be Sister Mary Jo Sobiek, who threw out one heck of a first pitch at Saturday’s White Sox-Royals game. The Dominican nun even tossed in an arm-bounce move with the ball before firing it at Chicago’s Lucas Giolito at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“That was awesome,” Giolito said (via MLB.com) after the game. “She had a whole routine. She had it planned out. I was just lucky to be back there. She threw a perfect pitch.”
“She was pretty good, actually,” White Sox Manager Rick Renteria said. “We talked to her a little bit, but before we were talking to her, she was talking to someone and she wanted to warm up. She had a mitt and a ball. She gave him the mitt. She stepped back at about 45 feet and threw a bullet.
“I’m like, ‘Wait a minute.’ He threw it back to her and she fielded it barehanded. I was like, ‘Okay, she looks like she can play a little bit,’ so we started talking to her. I think she said, ‘I played center and short.’ ”
It was Marian Catholic High night at the ballpark, and thus Sister Mary Jo, an administrator at the Chicago Heights, Ill., school, got the chance to show her stuff. In so doing, she etched her name alongside that of Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, the 98-year-old talisman of the Loyola Chicago Ramblers who gained national notice as they made an improbable run to this spring’s Final Four.
A former college softball player, Sister Mary Jo has reportedly said that her fastball has been timed at 76 mph. According to a 2008 profile in the Times of Northwest Indiana, she has also played and coached volleyball and is a “self-proclaimed tomboy.”
“I said, ‘Can you play for us?’ ” said Renteria. “She said, ‘Sure.’ Seems to be a really nice lady.”
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