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Coming Back, Giving Back

Jack Fimple, who played for both the Crabs and the Humboldt State baseball team in the late 1970s en route to the Major Leagues, was back in Arcata recently, and took the time to put on a catching clinic for about 50 local Little Leaguers at manager Matt Nutter's Solo Sports shop in Arcata.

Fimple was in town because his son — following in Dad's footsteps — was enlisting in the Coast Guard.

"I was talking with the recruiters, and they knew that I'd played at Humboldt State and also with the Crabs, and word spread, and they asked me if I'd do a little talk or something," said Fimple. "Then the next e-mail came and it said, 'How about a catcher's clinic,' so I said sure."

Fimple doesn't make a career out of baseball clinics, but jumps at any chance to grow the game.

"I do whatever I can to promote the game and teach this age of kids, because this is really where the game is taught," he said.

So as twilight set in, after spending some time answering questions, Fimple and the kids turned Solo's parking lot into a makeshift diamond, and he demonstrated some of the techniques that helped him in is career, such as the quick transition from receiving the pitch to throwing out a would-be base stealer at second.

Fimple didn't grow up in Humboldt, but was stationed here with the Coast Guard when he was a young man. He heard about the Crabs, decided to try out, and made the team, playing mostly third base and designated hitter. And that led to his playing for HSU as well.

"I think I hit like .350, it was just a blast, a lot of fun," he said. "And it happened that one of the coaches was a Humboldt State coach, so he asked me to come out to play at Humboldt State. We worked it all out, with the Coast Guard and with school, being able to play and all that, and this little snowball started rolling down the hill, and had some good games, in front of some good people, and next thing you know…"

Next thing he knew, he was playing in the show. He was drafted by the Indians in 1983, and played three years with the Dodgers and one with the Angels.