David Jordan Bachner accomplished something in his short 18 years that many aspire to do, but only a select few actually manage to do: leave a legacy.
"I think the key thing for him was not his accomplishments in athletics, but really what he accomplished in his life and being friends to other people," Steve Bachner, David's father, said. "That was really his life; we found that out afterwards. He's really been an inspiration but not because of baseball. I really don't think baseball had that much to do with it. Baseball wasn't all that he was about.
Yes, Bachner was good at baseball. He was talented enough to rewrite the West Windsor-Plainsboro North record book for a pitcher, earn a scholarship to Seton Hall University and garner The Times' 2009 Player of the Year honors.
But to see just how much Bachner's life extended and affected people beyond the baseball diamond, all you have to do is check his ever-active Facebook page over the last two days as the posts have been increasing with a swiftness reminiscent of one of the fastball's he used to strike out 239 career batters.
Since his passing, Aug. 11, 2009, his Facebook page has been an outlet for family, friends and acquaintances to reminisce and share stories about David's life, vent frustration about how someone who meant so much to so many people could be taken at such a young age, as well as to ask for guidance through their own personal struggles.
"Facebook has been a good outlet, particularly for a lot of kids," Steve said. "The one thing they don't deal with in school is death. There's no course for what happens when you lose a close friend."
David's mother Rhonda, has been especially active on the social networking site, not only by helping to keep her son's legacy alive, but also by reaching out to other families who have recently lost a child.
"She's been a big help to a lot of people who have lost kids recently," Steve said. "She's offered them support and told them where they can go to seek help. She's writing to them. That's just what she does. She's really been an inspiration to a lot of people. There's nothing we can do to bring him back. The only thing we can do is help others now. Maybe we can help people get through a situation like that. It happens all the time. You're aware of it if it's happened to you, but if it didn't happen to you you're probably not aware of it. Unfortunately, we're aware of it. We'll never forget David. David's with us every day. His memories will never leave us.
Friends and classmates have played an integral role in making sure that not only memories of David are sustained, but by creating new memories as well.
Since his passing, Rhonda and Steve have had well over 1,000 T-shirts and 2,000 bracelets emblazoned with "Unhittable". No. 16" made.
Friends and family, in their travels, have sent pictures from all corners of the world - the United Kingdom, Scotland, New Zealand, Italy, Phillipines and Tokoyo - as well as across the country wearing their T-shirts and bracelets.
In addition, more than a dozen family and friends - including a pair of kids he was set to become teammates with at Seton Hall - have gotten the initials "DJB" tattooed on their body.
"A tattoo's pretty permanent," Steve said, cracking a laugh.
And so is Bachner's legacy. In the past year there have been basketball and hockey games held in his memory. Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated penned a touching piece on the life of Bachner and Greg Montalbano, a former Red Sox draft pick and fellow left-hander pitcher who lost a battle with cancer 10 days after David passed.
Patches with his initials were sewn into the jerseys and his No. 16 was etched into the cap of both the WW-P North and Seton Hall baseball teams. Seton Hall had Steve and Rhonda throw out the first pitch of their first home game and hung a banner in right field all season long. The West Windsor and Plainsboro communities and more than 1,000 people strong gathered in May for David Bachner Day at the field. Knight's head baseball coach Bob Boyce even hung around for one more year just to ensure that David was honored properly.
And through determined and generous family, friends, and, in some cases strangers, more than $30,000 has been raised which the family will use to help less fortunate children in David's honor.
"I like to believe his passing has helped a lot of kids and like to believe it's given tham a lot of inspiration." Steve said. "His life was so great. Nobody had a better life than he did, as short as it was. He went out on top. What can I say, he was a great kid."
Article written by Kevin Maloney ....The Trenton Times