The Dominican sister who wowed a Chicago stadium with her ceremonial first pitch last summer is about to become immortalized on a baseball card.
Sister Mary Jo Sobiek, a theology teacher at Chicago’s Marian Catholic, took to the mound last August before a Chicago White Sox-Kansas City Royals game, stuck a moistened finger in the air to check the wind direction, bounced a hardball off her arm, and threw what White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito described later as a “perfect pitch.”
It was “Marian Catholic High Night” at Guaranteed Rate Field, in support of the local school. Wearing the high school’s softball uniform jersey for the occasion, Sister Mary Jo threw her pitch directly at Giolito, who was squatting behind home base.
The baseball card with Sister Mary Jo’s image will be sold in Topps trading card packs as a part of their Allen and Ginter series, WBEZ reported.
“We wanted to feature her on the set because she is a huge sports fan, a lifelong baseball fan,” said Susan Lulgjuraj, marketing manager for Topps. “And when we saw her throw that first pitch last year, it kind of clicked. We said, ‘How cool would it be to feature Sister [Mary] Jo on a card?’”
Sister Mary Jo said she plans to donate the $1,000 Topps is paying her to a scholarship fund at Marian Catholic. Some of the cards will have a piece of one of the nun’s veils attached, suggestive of a relic on a prayer card.
Topps plans to release the cards on July 17.
Sobieck played softball and volleyball during her years at the College of St. Scholastica, in Minnesota. In her prime her fastball clocked in at 76 mph.
“To be a good athlete, you have to be strong in body, mind, and spirit,” she told Runner’s World. “There will be times that you’ll lose, and you have to know how to prepare your mind for those failures. Striving towards sainthood requires the same level of discipline, humility, and stick-to-it-ness.”