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'She was our angel'

By Eric Fiegel, CNN
  • Christina Green's grandfather says work helps with his grief
  • Child was killed when Representative Gabrielle Giffords was attacked
  • Ex-Phillies manager says "she embodied what's good about kids"

Washington (CNN) -- He talked like any proud grandfather would, telling stories about how his granddaughter would get dressed up, how she would look after her brother and how good she could swing a baseball bat.

"She was going to be the first major league gal," Dallas Green said. He would know, as he was the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies when they won the World Series in 1980.

"That little girl woke an awful lot of people up and we just miss the hell out of her." Green told reporters outside the Phillies spring training site in Clearwater, Florida, on Wednesday.

The grandchild he so proudly talks about is Christina Green, gunned down in Tucson, Arizona last month, along with five others while attending a political event. She was 9.

"She embodied what's good about kids, she wanted to be a little girl," Green said.

Green, now a senior advisor for the Phillies, struggled at times when talking about Christina, who he called princess.

"You know I'm suppose to be a tough sucker but I'm not very tough when it comes to this," he said.

The girl had recently been elected to the student council at Mesa Verde Elementary School. Neighbor Suzie Hileman, a close family friend -- impressed with Christina's civic interest -- took her to the event to meet Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

Green praised Hileman for doing everything she could: "God bless the lady that took her, she took three bullets, tried to protect Christina, couldn't do it, she was a wonderful person and we will never forget her."

Hileman survived the shooting. Giffords remains in a hospital after being critically injured in the attack.

Green says baseball has helped him get through the ordeal. His son John, Christina's father, also works in baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers

Green last saw Christina during Christmas, when the family came to visit. "We will miss her desperately, she was our angel," he said.