RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Max Rosenfield of Ridgefield was a young man trapped inside a 7-year-old’s body.
Mature for his tender age, young Max baked brownies for play dates, birthdays and celebrations. He encouraged teammates of all abilities on his baseball, basketball and football teams. “If it was somebody’s birthday he’d write cards,’’ said his mother, Jill. “He was an extraordinary soul and had an intoxicating personality.”
The young boy died suddenly on March 14, 2012. His legacy lives on through the Max Michael Rosenfield Foundation, which celebrates Max’s life and continues his acts of friendship, service and community.
The Foundation will host its second annual baseball clinic at the Danbury Sports Dome on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 4-6 p.m. The University of Hartford baseball team will instruct the young players, with guest appearances by former and current Major League Players. Ridgefield Real Estate Agent Amy Mosley of Amy Mosley & Partners Real Estate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage co-sponsors the clinic.
Young Max appeared headed toward a bright baseball career. His father, Ken, formerly played at the University of Hartford, where he was an infielder on teams that included former Major League star Jeff Bagwell. Ken turned to his Hartford connections to stage the clinic.
“Max loved baseball,’’ Ken said. “Max would go with me to see the team and he knew all the guys. He played on the field in some of the alumni games. At 5 years old, I’d hit him pop ups as hard as I could with a tennis racquet and he could catch them. He never wanted to quit. He’d always say ‘Just three more. Just three more.’”
Max was also an avid Boston Red Sox fan, and it is not lost on his parents that the team snapped its 86-year World Series hex when he was born in 2004.
Max’s passion for baseball was superseded by his passion to help and encourage others, no matter the age. “Max was a give back kind of kid,’’ Jill said. “He always included everyone. He was the first one to stay to help clean up. He’d bring the balls to practice. He’d stay after practice. He was active with his church, community and volunteered at Farmingville Elementary School. That’s what his personality was.”
Brownies were Max’s treat every time he visited a friend. “We would never show up any place empty-handed,’’ said Jill, who said that Max died shortly before his 8th birthday, and told people he was "7 3/4 years old."He took special pride in making them himself.”
The clinic is bittersweet for the Rosenfields. Many of the participants last year were former teammates of Max, and his former coaches from Ridgefield also supported the cause.
"I am proud to sponsor the Live Life to the Max baseball clinic for the second year,'' Mosley said. "Although I did not know Max, I have come to know Ken and Jill and their story of tremendous loss and perseverance. I respect their strength to face their adversity with grace and to rise up to make a difference in the lives of our children and community. I am honored to stand beside them in celebrating the beautiful life of their son, Max, and to offer my support in making this amazing event a reality."
The family knows their son would have enjoyed the clinic. He’d encourage other players. He’d enthusiastically do whatever the Hartford players asked. He’d be fishing the balls from the practice nets. Like his name suggests, he lived life to the Max, even if it was just for seven short years.
“No doubt, he’d be the first one there,’’ Jill said. “And as soon as he got on the field, he’d tell us he wants to be the last one to leave.”
For more information or to register for the baseball clinic, click here to visit the Max Michael Rosenfield website.