Lendosky was just three days short of his 10th birthday when he was killed after falling off a UTV being towed by a tractor in Fennimore, Wis. Bautista learned of what happened and communicated with the young boy's father via Twitter that he would dedicate Friday's game to his son.
@JoeyBats19 On Friday I will be burying my 9yr old son. He will be wearing his Bautista jersey and taking a ball you gave him with him.— Steve Lendosky (@iamlongball) August 7, 2013
You are a true class act @JoeyBats19 . You now have lifelong fans. We appreciate your kind gesture. Thank you so much.— Steve Lendosky (@iamlongball) August 10, 2013
With an entire town watching, things looked bleak for Bautista and the Blue Jays as the Oakland Athletics stormed out to a 14-3 lead, with Josh Reddick leading the way with three home runs.
But in the bottom of the eighth inning, Bautista, who was 1-for-3 on the night, belted an offering deep to left field for his 26th home run of the season.
No question that Derek's father and the entire township of Fennimore were smiling despite the overwhelming grief they've been feeling.
Bautista's act of kindness and his selfless act of reaching out to a community in grief was another example of an athlete understanding the kind of impact he can have on the lives of his fans.
Jose Bautista just hit a home run in the game that he dedicated to Fennimore's Derek Lendosky, 9-yr old who passed away on Sunday. Awesome.— Travis Wilson (@travisWSN) August 10, 2013
We need more people like @JoeyBats19. Dedicating games to people like Derek, just interacting with his fans. Thank you so much Jose Bautista— Lawrie 11GMHitStreak (@Ajeeth_CRZ) August 10, 2013
After hearing what Jose Bautista did tonight for a family in Wisconsin I have gained a whole new respect for him— Scott Wigner (@ScottVigne) August 10, 2013
Kemp went above and beyond in giving Joshua some precious memories before his passing.
For Bautista, he never had the pleasure of meeting Derek Lendosky. But it didn't stop him from reaching out and doing what he could to ease his family's pain and that of an entire community.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.
Feel free to talk baseball with Doug anytime on Twitter.