Prep Football

Bruce still to speak as FCA goes virtual with banquet

Hall of Fame Football
FILE - In this Dec. 24, 2006, file photo, St. Louis Rams' Isaac Bruce (80) eludes Washington Redskins Sean Taylor after making a catch during the first half of an NFL football game in St. Louis. Bruce was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)
Tom Gannam STR
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 29, 2020 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Isaac Bruce committed to speak at the Western Illinois chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes' annual banquet, and the former NFL standout nicknamed "The Reverend" always keeps his word.

The soon-to-be-enshrined Hall of Famer will be the keynote speaker for what will now be a virtual banquet taking place at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Organizers had hoped to reschedule their spring fund-raising event for June, but the coronavirus pandemic forced them to pursue other avenues.

The virtual banquet can be viewed on Facebook and YouTube and will feature a series of pre-recorded testimonials from local coaches and student-athletes, as well as Bruce and two other professional athletes. Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher and current television analyst Rick Horton and former major league pitcher Dave Dravecky will take part in the event.

Bruce was part of the "Greatest Show on Turf" in St. Louis as he was the Rams' leading receiver with four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He caught a 73-yard touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXXIV as the Rams beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Bruce caught 12 touchdowns passes that season, one of two seasons in which he had double-digit touchdown receptions. During 13 seasons playing in St. Louis, Bruce had eight 1,000-yard seasons. He finished his 16-year career with 1,024 receptions, 15,424 yards and 91 touchdowns.

He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February and officially will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, in late July, pending any further coronavirus limitations.

Horton pitched in the big leagues for seven seasons, six of which were with the Cardinals. He had a 32-27 record with a 3.76 ERA, but enjoyed his best season as a reliever in 1987 when he went 8-3 with an 3.82 ERA. He made three postseason appearances in 1987, helping the Cardinals win the National League pennant.

Horton has been a radio and television analyst and play-by-play voice for the Cardinals since 1997 and works approximately 100 games per season in the booth for Fox Sports Midwest.

Dravecky pitched for the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants in the 1980s, but he underwent surgery for a cancerous desmoid tumor in his pitching arm in 1988. He returned to the Giants in 1989, but he suffered a broken arm in his second appearance off the disabled list. A malignant mass was discovered in his arm, and in 1991, he had the arm and shoulder amputated.

At that point, Dravecky became a motivational speaker and has written two books about his battle with cancer. Dravecky finished his big league career with a 64-57 record and a 3.13 ERA.

An online auction will coincide with event with a variety of items available for bids, including memorabilia autographed by Bruce and other athletes, St. Louis Cardinals tickets, a gun safe, a Traeger grill and other items. To view or bid on items, visit SpradlinAuction.com.