He was an outstanding southpaw pitcher for Southeastern High and later, Western Illinois and the Quincy Gems. Yet much too soon, Devin VanBrooker was gone as the result of a tragic motorcycle accident in 2010. But his parents, Dan and Susie, have remained close to Devin's teams ever since. And on Thursday, the Quincy Gems showed that Devin is still close to them, with the first annual team golf outing in his honor.
"Devin had a dream to be a major league ballplayer, and these kids have dreams to be that, too. I just want to let them know that sometimes things go awry but to remember the people that went before you, that made all this happen, and just remember that it's always better to give than it is to receive,"
"He was a big left-hander and he got a lot of press when he was at Southeastern and rightfully so because he was one of the better ballplayers in the area. When he went to WIU and we had a chance to sign him to the Gems that first summer, we did, and he played well for us,"
"The VanBrookers have always given money back to the Gems program, and they wanted us to use it for the boys,"
"It's all about baseball to them, and keeping their son's memory alive that way, and its fantastic that they're doing that,"
"And I thought about bringing them out to Westview and feeding them a meal besides hot dogs and hamburgers when they had a day off, and I think it's worked out pretty well,"
"The VanBrookers can do anything they want to do with that money, but they want to keep this going so the younger kids can understand that you do have a dream but that you have to work for that dream and remember all of those people before you,"
"The fun part was how he interacted with our fans, and he was always joking around with the players and he was like that with everybody, so friendly with everyone, and that's what it's all about. Keep giving to other people and be a good person in the world - that's what we try and accomplish,"
"He was a great athlete and a great kid, so this is a way of saying thank you to the VanBrookers and remembering Devin at the same time,"