By Frances Wang

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Family and friends of Manny LaFont are pushing to keep his legacy alive through his love for baseball and children.

The beloved father and coach was one of the 98 people killed in the Champlain Towers building collapse.

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The push to get the baseball fields at North Shore Park dedicated to LaFont started with a Change.org petition in July, but it’s only now heading to the city commission to be approved.

More than 2,700 people have signed the petition, started by friend and fellow baseball dad-coach Mike Rosenow.

“You could always find Manny out here, especially on a day like today,” said Rosenow.

“People called it his second home,” said another baseball dad coach, Brendan Coyle.

The 54-year-old shined on the baseball field as a coach, father, and in this tight-knit baseball community, a brother.

“Some nights out with the guys, we’d share how’d you learn how to play baseball, why do you coach, why are you always here? Every time it was always the same. Because I love the game and I want to see my son enjoy the game like I love the game. You can’t help but somebody like that. You can’t help but miss him.

Coyle spoke at a city commission committee meeting a few weeks ago on behalf of the baseball community, in an effort to get the city of Miami Beach to consider the renaming of the baseball field.

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LaFont’s two young children, 13-year-old Mia and 10-year-old Santi also spoke.

“The Surfside condo was my first home. I was born in that apartment,’ said Mia. “If he wasn’t in that apartment he loved so much, he was always at the baseball field.”

Santi is now just left with memories. His father’s lessons, resilience, and baseball always with him.

“Baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life to me and it’s life to my dad,” said Santi.

Even up until the final hours, before the towers collapsed, LaFont was doing what he loved most in this world: coaching baseball and coaching his son.

“I will never give up on baseball,’ said Santi, through tears. “When I grow up, I will teach my kids, like my dad spent countless hours trying to teach me and friends.

LaFont left it all on the field, and for his loved ones, this field will now be their field of memories.

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The Miami Beach City Commission will vote to approve the renaming of the field at their meeting on October 27th.

Frances Wang