ROOSEVELT PARK, Mich. — First grader Junior Parker from Muskegon is beginning his second year playing baseball without his biggest fan. Last year, his mother, Taylor Rider, died from complications during surgery.
Now, he's honoring her each game he plays.
"I was feeling horribly sad," says Parker.
The seven-year-old didn't know how he'd pick up a bat again after his mother died last year.
"You could hear her chanting and cheering a mile away for him," says Junior's dad, Jerry.
"I loved her so much," says Junior. "She was always cheering me on."
Now, Junior is cheering her on with a new jersey. The phrase, "THIS ONE'S 4 MOM," with a halo for an apostrophe.
The number four was chosen intentionally.
"The 4th is her birthday," says Jerry. "March 4th."
And that's not all Junior wants to do for her this year.
"I want to hit a home run but I don't know if its possible," he says. "I'm only seven."
That's something he's never done before. But his confidence isn't lacking.
"He's hit the fence a few times over there," Jerry explains.
"No, I hit it all the time. I never stop hitting it," replies Junior.
But he knows she'd be proud, home run or not.
And if he could see his mom one more time, he'd be grateful.
"I would want to hug her and say thank you for coming to watch my games," says Junior.
Does Junior think she's still watching his games?
"Yup," he says.
Junior didn't clear the fence on Wednesday night, but he did rack up a single and a double in the game.
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