The father of one of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings will be throwing the ceremonial first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opener on April 5.
Robbie Parker, the father of 6-year-old Emilie Parker, is a longtime Rangers fan and took his daughter to several Rangers games before she was killed on Dec. 14, according to a press release from the team. (Emilie is pictured here, along with some of the other victims of the Sandy Hook shootings.)
In a statement read by his brother Jeremie on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM in January, Parker said, “I am so proud to be a Ranger fan, because I know that as a fan I actually belong to a community. I am glad I was able to share the community with my precious daughter and that the same community has reached out to her and let our family know that she is remembered and loved. Thank you for all you have done to support our family through this time. Go Rangers!”
Parker be accompanied by his wife, Alissa, and his daughters Madeline and Samantha for the first-pitch ceremony, according to the team.
After the tragedy in December, the Parkers started the “Emilie Parker Fund,” which aims to raise money for arts programs in schools and local communities. Emilie was “an exceptional artist,” according to the charity’s website. (You can see some of her artwork here.)
All Major League Baseball players, coaches, managers, umpires, and on-field personnel have been wearing ribbon patches and observing moments of silence for the Sandy Hook victims during their opening games this week, according to a press release from the league.
“The unimaginable tragedy that befell Newtown, Connecticut, will never be forgotten,” said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig in a statement. “Major League Baseball, all 30 clubs and baseball fans from around the country and Canada offer our deepest sympathies and our unbridled support as the community continues to heal from this heartbreaking day.”
The ribbon patch features 26 stars, one for each of the victims, along with the official seal of Newtown. MLB.com is also auctioning a jersey from each team, signed by all players and coaches on each club’s Opening Day roster, with all proceeds to go toward the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.
Photo: Robbie Parker, the father of 6-year-old Emilie Parker who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, speaks during a press conference in December. (David Goldman/AP)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.