Former Major League Baseball star and Upper St. Clair High School graduate Sean Casey is the driving force behind the building of the Miracle League Field in the community he grew up in.
Casey and his wife, Mandi, live in Upper St. Clair and have launched Casey's Clubhouse. The goal is to raise $1 million to build a baseball field where local children with special needs can have a chance to play.
Casey's inspiration comes from his days of playing for the Tigers and Reds. He got involved with Miracle Leagues set up in Detroit and Cincinnati.
"After seeing how happy the kids were and how excited the parents got, I thought man, we really need to build a Miracle Field back home," Casey said.
A Miracle Field is a complex designed with a cushioned, rubberized turf. It has completely flat surfaces to alleviate barriers for children living with disabilities and children who are blind. The Township of Upper St. Clair has approved plans to build a field and playground in Boyce Mayview Park.
"There are so many great people who have made this project move forward," said Casey.
The project got a jump start when Mark Miller, longtime friend of Casey's and principal at Eisenhower Elementary School, got involved. Miller introduced Casey to Kyle Robinson, a recently retired Director of Public Works. He helped find the perfect plot of land near the Community and Recreation Center. A meeting was then set up with Township Manager Matthew Serakowski, who helped get the plans approved.
Clifford Rowe and Brett Pitcairn of P.J. Dick Inc. will make Casey's dream become a reality. The local construction company will build the Miracle Field and playground.
"The field will serve the entire South Hills community," explained Casey, "There are a lot of parents who have to drive their kids up to Cranberry to use the only Miracle Field in town, including my dear friend, Dave Hall. He has to drive an hour each way so his son, who lives with down syndrome, can play ball. Dave has done a lot to help raise funds for a field in Upper St. Clair."
There may be one more man Casey will have to thank when the Miracle Field is completed. The man who asked Casey, "Isn't there already a field built up in Cranberry?"
"That really fired me up and motivated me to build a Miracle Field for the South Hills!" exclaimed Casey. "Yes, there is only one field for all kids with special needs in Pittsburgh to play. I can't wait for the day there's a Miracle Field in every community, so every child can have the chance to enjoy baseball."
Casey's Clubhouse recently received a $50,000 donation from Ed Dunlap and the Centimark Corporation. They will receive a plaque on a bronze structure by the Miracle Field to honor those who have contributed.