has always been one of my favorite athletes to cover, dating to our first association 14 years ago, when he was brought to the big leagues on that 108-loss Marlins team of 1998.
We were both overwhelmed rookies that year as I arrived from the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle three weeks before the start of
Can't ever remember a time when Redmond showed anything but class to me, other media members, teammates, security people, fans or anyone else he came across at the ballpark.
We also shared a sad connection in that we both lost a parent to cancer at age 66 in early 2000.
My dear mother, Marie, died on Jan. 30 of that year, and my bosses at the time, Fred Turner and Tom Christensen, graciously gave me all the time I needed to handle our family affairs and steel myself mentally to get back to work.
They even drove 90 minutes roundtrip on a Wednesday morning to attend my mother's funeral in
Three weeks later, I sat with Redmond at his spring-training locker in Viera and asked him if he would talk about his ailing father, Pat. No one knew about the story at the time, but Redmond graciously shared his innermost feelings with me over the next 20 minutes.
Our backs to the rest of the bustling clubhouse, Redmond quietly let the stories and the tears flow, trusting me to properly honor this incredibly giving man who had shaped him and his twin brother.
I hope you'll take a few minutes and read that story again now. It's probably the one that has meant the most to me in my nearly 15 years at the Sun Sentinel.
And for those who don't really know Redmond or who doubt his ability to make this work, I think it will round out the picture of the man the Marlins will re-introduce to South Florida this afternoon.