MARIA STEIN, Ohio (November 6, 2019) – On Sunday, November 3rd, the Maria Stein Shrine hosted Baseball & Blessings. The event, which included four area baseball legends, sold out two weeks in advance.
“This has been a year in the making”, stated Shrine Marketing Director, Susie Bergman, “We wanted to come up with a unique event that appealed to the impressive history of athletics in our communities, but in a way that also inspired and nourished our faith.”
The first guest speaker was Maria Stein’s own Cory Luebke. Luebke had a successful pitching career in Major League Baseball for the San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates. He currently resides in TN and was unable to personally attend, but attendees watched a special video presentation recorded by Cory and received a copy of his faith story.
Scheduled to speak next was professional baseball player and legendary Coldwater Baseball Coach, Lou Brunswick. Unfortunately, Lou fell ill a few days prior to the event and was unable to attend. Five of his seven children presented on behalf of their father and held a special tribute to him. Lou coached at Coldwater for 35 years and was inducted into the Ohio Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1975. During that time he won 750 games and he is fifth on the all-time OHSAA career win list. As amazing as the win total is, Brunswick lost only 166 games during his career at Coldwater. He was also one of the key members responsible for forming the ACME summer baseball program. Lou currently has a book out entitled “Everyone Counts: Faith, Family and My Life in Baseball”.
The next speaker was All-American Girls Professional Baseball player and Minster graduate, Katie Horstman. Katie grew up playing baseball with her five older brothers. She began playing softball with a newly formed CYO team, where she was scouted by Tony Bernard and eventually signed to play with the Fort Wayne Daisies. She recalled her mother agreeing she could play professionally, at the age of only 16, if she attended Mass every Sunday. The AAGPBL is most well-known through its portrayal in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” which Horstman consulted on. When her baseball career was over, she was working her way through college and discerning her future. She heeded to a vocational calling and went on to become the first nun to receive a bachelor’s degree in physical education from DePaul University. By 1972, she had settled back home in Minster and began using her position as a physical education teacher to introduce the children, especially girls, to sports. She coached volleyball, basketball, track and cross
country, softball and soccer. There is book written about her life entitled “Horsey the Nun” after her AAGPBL nickname “Horsey”.
The final speaker to address the filled Adoration Chapel was current Major League Baseball player and Versailles graduate, Craig Stammen. Craig is currently pitching for the San Diego Padres. He shared his baseball experiences growing up, which included playing against Cory Luebke often in Maria Stein and humbly admitting he failed to get a hit off him whenever their paths crossed on the ball diamond. He also spoke of his parent’s strong faith and how they laid the foundation that he continues to build upon today. He described how he once played for his teammates and school, but now plays for God, which is a much broader-minded way of seeing things and eases the pressure. Craig and his wife, Audrey, have two children and live in North Star during the off season.
The event concluded with a meet and greet opportunity for attendees to ask questions, receive autographs and take photos. Each attendee also received a baseball signed by Cory, Lou, Katie and Craig. “This was such a special day for all ages at the Shrine”, stated Diana Russell, Shrine Director of Fund Development, “I truly admire how each baseball player, not only took the time to share their personal faith stories, but also gave glory to God for their gifts – what great examples they are for us”.
The Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics provides faith nourishment and spiritual renewal through opportunities for prayer and pilgrimage and inspiration from the lives of the saints. People from around the world visit the shrine to explore and enjoy this environment rich in holiness and history. The Shrine is located at 2291 St. John’s Rd. in Maria Stein. For more event information, visit www.mariasteinshrine.org.