PHOENIX (AP) — Major League Baseball had a special connection to the Tucson shooting that killed six people and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords this year, a fact that made its pregame ceremonies at the All-Star game Tuesday all the more moving.
The youngest of those who died was 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, daughter of Los Angeles Dodgers scout John Green and granddaughter of former major league manager and pitcher Dallas Green.
Those killed and the 13 wounded on Jan. 8, their families and a hero from that day were honored at Chase Field.
Daniel Hernandez, the intern whose quick actions helped save Giffords' life, and 85-year-old broadcaster Joe Garagiola Sr. tossed side-by-side ceremonial first pitches.
Green's parents and brother quietly delivered lineup cards to the umpires, who shook hands with each of them.
"It was pretty emotional, it really was," NL manager Bruce Bochy said after the game. "It breaks your heart what happened. It was a beautiful young girl and for her family to go through that, it was emotional for everybody. The players were talking about it, so it was nice to have them out there, and I told them that it was a special moment, I thought, but a very tough moment, for us and for the family."
The names of those who died were listed on the ballpark's giant screen during a moment of silence, a giant U.S. flag spread across the outfield. Survivors and relatives of those shot outside the Arizona supermarket watched from behind the third-base dugout, guests of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.
Hernandez, who had just joined Giffords' staff, rushed to her after she was shot in the head from close range, keeping her upright and breathing until paramedics arrived.
Giffords is undergoing outpatient therapy just outside of Houston for a gunshot wound to the head. She was released from the hospital last month and is staying at astronaut husband Mark Kelly's home in League City, a town 26 miles south of Houston. She has visited Tucson once since the shooting to celebrate Father's Day weekend.
Jared Lee Loughner, wrestled to the ground at the scene of the shooting, has pleaded not guilty to 49 federal charges. He is in a Missouri mental facility after experts determined he suffers from schizophrenia and a judge ruled him mentally unfit to stand trial.