CINCINNATI -- Phil Nelson of Tipp City, Ohio, was honored prior to Sunday's game as Major League Baseball's MVP Dad for the Cincinnati region. Nelson, a father of four and grandfather of two, was greeted by Dusty Baker, Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce at the first-base line. He also presented the Reds' lineup card to the umpires at home plate before the game.
"It's quite an honor; it's great," Nelson said. "My daughter Jenna nominated me, and it's a really proud moment for me as a father."
Nelson has been in a wheelchair since 1981. Working for a moving company, Nelson suffered a spinal cord injury when a homemade camping trailer fell on him while he was loading it into a van. His oldest daughter, Megan, was only 1 when the injury occured.
The wheelchair has not kept him from being involved in his children's lives, though. Nelson has volunteered as a coach on several youth basketball and baseball teams, and he does his best to follow his son Zach's rock band.
"All the kids have adapted pretty well," said Nelson, who has lived in the greater Dayton, Ohio, area his whole life. "They don't really know any better than, 'Dad's in a wheelchair.' I tried to do all the normal things that fathers did."
Today, Nelson is a branch chief in contracting at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and he was honored on Sunday alongside Jenna, who is going into her senior year of high school. She plays basektball and soccer, and she is spending the summer attending camps, hoping to catch the eye of a college coach. Phil said he goes to as many camps as he can with her.