CINCINNATI — Six-year-old Walter “Superbubz” Herbert’s smile and upbeat attitude during his cancer battle was one that had an entire city cheering and rallying for him — including Reds first baseman Joey Votto.
Herbert died on Oct. 6 after two years of battling neuroblastoma. On Thursday night, according to WLWT-TV, Votto was among the hundreds of mourners who paid his respects to the family during a visitation. A family friend told the TV news station that Votto refused an offer to move to the front of the long line and waited his turn. He also brought flowers for Herbert’s parents.
On Aug. 31, Votto connected with Herbert when he was at Great American Ball Park with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When Votto hit a home run vs. the Mets later that night, Herbert was sitting in the front row of seats next to the Reds’ dugout.
Votto made the little boy’s night by high-fiving him and handing him his bat. After the game, he took his No. 19 jersey off of his back and gave it to Herbert.
The Reds later invited Herbert back to the ballpark for another game to be an honorary team captain. His pediatric cancer had reached Stage 4 when it returned in the spring following a period of remission. The young boy also had dreams realized by getting to spend time with the Cincinnati Bengals, FC Cincinnati soccer and the Colerain High School football team. Although his parents said their son was in pain throughout, his smile touched everyone.
That smile was on big display as well on Aug. 31, when Herbert was wearing Votto’s jersey and holding his bat after the game.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.