Vigil held for teen who lived for baseball
by Shaka Lias
Dec 31, 2010 | 9428 views | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Veronica Taylor, Rob Taylor’s mother, right, closes her eyes in prayer. Beside her is one of the vigil’s organizers, Brandy Schall. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Friends called him "A-Rob," an ode to baseball star Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez. Coaches say baseball was Robert Taylor III's life. So it was fitting that more than 200 people gathered on the baseball field at Osborne Park Thursday night for the 13-year-old, who was accidentally shot and killed Wednesday evening.

"Rob was the most inspirational player I ever met," said Tsunami General Manger Paul Wilson.

Rob became part of the traveling baseball team earlier this year. Wilson said he had an uplifting spirit and touched every boy on the team. "His life was baseball, he lived for baseball."

Wilson said he was impressed with "Lil Rob," as he called him. During the summer he was on the field helping to manicure it and get it ready for the games.

"He was here every day, practicing and pulling weeds," Wilson said.

Assistant Coach and Trainer Willie Burge said he was impressed with Rob's "game, demeanor and attitude" when he tried out for the team.

Burge said he's very proud to say they are not only his coaches but some of his best friends.

"He will be missed," Burge said, adding that they will always carry him with them.

"Lil Rob will be on every jersey in the Tsunami family," Burge said. "Number 5 will be on every jersey in the program."

Teammate Brevin Harris said Rob was one of the first people to congratulate him when he made the team. "He always pushed me to do better and get better. It really made me feel good about myself," Brevin said.

Avery Thompson said Rob was happy all the time. "He was a good friend to me, he was always cheering me on every time I was up to bat," Avery said.

One by one friends, classmates, neighbors and relatives took the microphone sharing their fondest memories of Rob.

Matthew Wilson described Rob as his best friend. "He was like a brother to me," Matthew said of his teammate. Josh Bruce, another teammate, agreed, "Rob was like my brother."

One friend described him as having an amazing personality and pretty blue eyes. "I wish he wasn't taken so young," the girl said.

Christy, a neighbor of the Taylor family, said she's still in shock. She called Rob her adoptive son and said her kids enjoyed playing with him. She reminisced about the boy's 10th birthday party. She said Rob insisted on hitting the piñata with a baseball bat instead of the stick everyone else used.

"I will always remember and honor him, he was a blessing," she said.

Frank Torres, who identified himself as Rob's uncle, thanked everyone on behalf on his family.

"I know he's smiling, for one his friends are here and two we're on a baseball field," he said.

Torres, who called his nephew "Lil Man," said he is probably chasing Babe Ruth around heaven.

Euharlee Mayor Kathy Foulk said Rob was a friend of her grandson. "He was the type of person you wanted your kids or grandkids to hang with," she said.

Foulk said she credits his parents for that. "He was an all around good loving kid, very ethical," she said.

Tammy Marcaurelle said they began spreading word of the vigil Thursday afternoon. Marcaurelle, along with Brandy Schall and their sons Colby Henson and Nick Marcaurelle, sent out text messages, made phone calls and posted messages on Facebook.

"We're pleased with the turnout," Marcaurelle said. "It shows how many people loved and cared about Rob."

Rob's mother briefly addressed the audience. Veronica Taylor said it means the world to her and the family that people came out. "He loved everyone, thanks you for showing me how much my son was loved," she said.