Curve pay respects to late batboy Forney

Everybody knew Bo.

Forney, that is.

The Curve honored their former batboy, who passed away on Feb. 4 at the age of 21, with “BOpening night” at Peoples Natural Gas Field Thursday.

“He just talked about the Curve as ‘the guys’ and his friends,” Robert “Bo” Forney’s mother, Nancy Forney said. “He was referring to everybody. Employees, the staff, the players, they were all his family.”

Those friends organized an auction of autographed Pirates memorabilia and Bo Forney T-shirts and patches to benefit the American Heart Association during the Curve’s home opener against Harrisburg Thursday.

The event raised $3,734, which will be donated in Forney’s name.

“We were talking about doing something in his honor as a staff a few days after he passed,” Curve general manager Rob Egan said. “When we found out his family was working on a charitable donation for the American Heart Association, because he passed with a heart problem, we knew we had the Pirates exhibition game coming up and we could get some signed jerseys. So we put together this auction in his honor.”

Forney was a batboy with the Curve for five years.

“It meant the world to him,” Bo’s father, Ron Forney said. “It wasn’t work. It was pleasure. He really enjoyed it.

“He had one of those very unique personalities that he just had a natural ability to develop friendships. He could lighten up a room just by walking in.”

Baseball was a large part of Bo Forney’s life. In 2008, the same year Forney began working with the Curve, he played for ReMax Realty’s George B. Kelley Federation championship team.

Forney’s mother was touched by Thursday’s event.

“This puts Altoona on the map of my heart,” Nancy Forney said. “I know the community really pulls together to show how much it cares for its people.”

Egan remembered Forney as a charitable person who would have appreciated the fundraiser.

“We’re just so thrilled that Bo had such an impact on so many people,” Egan said. “You can see it with all the people out here bidding on his items and the people selling T-shirts in his honor to donate back to the charity in his honor.”

A video tribute to Forney was shown on the scoreboard during the game, and Ron Forney threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

“He was a member of the team, and I think that’s the best thing you can say about someone who works at the ballpark,” Egan said. “Players, coaches, they all felt like he was a part of the team. He had a great personality and was always positive. He had fun with the players. Anything they gave him, he gave right back. We miss him a ton.”