Remembering Evan

By Amy Gill

Published 04/15 2014 08:00PM

Updated 04/15 2014 08:02PM

ALTOONA - The newest member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization is outfielder Keon Broxton.
He was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Pirates in March.  Broxton was assigned to the Altoona Curve and plays almost every game in the outfield.
But coming into the Pirates' organization is bittersweet for Broxton.
He's grateful for the new opportunity with a new ball club, but he's now playing for the same organization that one of his best friends, Evan Chambers, played for.  That is, before Chambers passed away last December.
"Getting traded to the Pirates, my first thought was, 'Yes, I'm going to play with Evan,” says Broxton.  “And then I was like, he's not here anymore."
Former Curve and State College Spike outfielder Evan Chambers passed away in his sleep in the offseason.
An undetected genetic heart condition was to blame for the sudden loss of life.
Chambers and Broxton shared a special friendship because the two ball players went to high school together in Florida. 
They played for the same high school baseball team.  They shared the same dreams of someday playing pro baseball.
Chambers death is still as tough on Broxton now as it was a few months ago when it happened.
"It's just something I'll never understand or get over,” says Broxton.  “I battle with it constantly, especially when I'm alone.  I'll think, what if?  What if [Evan] was still alive?  We would probably be playing on the same team right now.  That's what we wanted.  That's always what we wanted from high school, on.  To play on the same team and potentially make it to the big leagues together.  So, just for this to happen and [have] me be [with the Curve], I still feel like he's here with me."
That's why you'll see when you go to a Curve game, that every time Broxton comes up to the plate he draws initials in the dirt.  It's become a part of his routine.   He writes “E.C.” for Evan Chambers.
"[It’s] just to make sure he knows that I know he should be here,” says Broxton.  “And that I just hope he's here with me.  Going through the same thing I’m going through right now.  Because I know he'd give anything to be right back where he was."
(Note: Evan Chambers spent part of the 2012 season with the Altoona Curve.  He spent the 2013 season rehabbing an injured foot.  Chambers played for the State College Spikes in 2009.)

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