CLEARWATER — Dallas Green, who led the Philadelphia Phillies to their first World Series victory in 1980, is known in Major League Baseball circles as tough-talking and no-nonsense.
But the strapping baseball veteran choked up as he remembered his little "Princess" — his 9-year-old granddaughter, who was fatally shot in the Jan. 8 shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., that injured U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.
Christina Taylor Green was the daughter of Dallas Green's son, John, and daughter-in-law, Roxanna, who live in Tucson. The A student, who talked about becoming a veterinarian and was the only girl on her Little League team, was one of six people killed at a Giffords meet-and-greet at a supermarket.
Dallas Green, 76, spoke to the media Wednesday morning at Bright House Field in Clearwater, the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Green, now senior adviser to the Phillies' general manager, has spent more than 30 years of his 55-year professional career with the ballclub.
Green, a hunter who owns guns, said Wednesday that the mass shooting made him question the legality of certain types of weapons and extended ammunition magazines. Authorities said the suspect in the Tucson shootings, Jared Lee Loughner, used a Glock 19 semiautomatic handgun with an extended clip.
"The one thing that I can't get through my mind, even though I'm a hunter and I love to shoot and I love to have my guns, I don't have a Glock or whatever it is or a magazine with 33 bullets it in," Green said. "That doesn't make sense to me to be able to sell those kind of things. I guess I never thought about it until this happened. … What reason is there to have those kind of guns other than to kill people?"
Green said it has been overwhelming to witness the national outpouring of sorrow over Christina's violent and untimely death. "That little girl woke an awful lot of people up," he said.
For those who knew her, Green said, the grief is palpable.
"We just miss the hell out of her," he said.