On Saturday, April 25, the North and South baseball teams honored one of the most beloved students and athletes in Knights history. David Jordan Bachner, who died in August 2009 due to cardiac arrest, was commemorated in a special ceremony prior to the Knights’ game against the Pirates. High School North officially renamed the field “Bachner Field,” unveiling a sign on the outfield fence.
The plans to rename the baseball field were set in motion a few months after Bachner’s death. “It’s the culmination of five-plus years of work,” Bachner’s father, Steve, said. The Bachners themselves remained largely uninvolved with the initial push for the field to be renamed. Several parents from the district wanted the field to be renamed, and in September of 2009, the school board met and discussed the matter.
Because there was no precedent in place for honoring a student, the board had to create a protocol for making such changes in the future. “There was no way they would arbitrarily do something like that,” Steve Bachner said. The board determined that a five-year waiting period should go in place before honoring any former student.
Another issue facing the board was the fact that another student had committed suicide twelve weeks before Bachner’s death. “They aren’t naming the field because David died. They are naming the field for his accomplishments,” Bachner’s father said. Bachner ended his North career with a 17-3 record, posting a 1.50 earned run average with 239 strikeouts. In his time as a North pitcher, Bachner set many Colonial Valley Conference records that will likely never be broken. Bachner had accepted a baseball scholarship to pitch for Seton Hall University. Bachner said he believes even if his son had not died, the field would still eventually have been named in his honor.
Bachner was admired as much for the way he carried himself off the field as for his accomplishments on the mound. “He would never read his newspaper clippings,” thd older Bachner said. In fact, annual scholarships are awarded to members of North and South’s hockey and baseball teams who exemplify Bachner’s character, both for their teams and as students in their schools.
Finally, the proposal was brought to a vote last September. The board approved the renaming of Bachner field by a vote of 6-3, ensuring that Bachner’s legacy would stand the test of time. “We just have to celebrate his life, and now we can commemorate him forever,” Bachner said.
Tim Hitchings, one of the parents involved with jumpstarting the plan to rename the field, stressed the value of incorporating Bachner’s legacy into the school: “Naming brings humanity to a thing,” Hitchings wrote on his blog. “Naming brings history to a thing. Naming provides a destination that can be remembered.”