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Brawley's Tim Howard the newest 'Frog

April 28, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — In a proud moment for the staff and baseball fans of Brawley Union High School here Friday, former Brawley Wildcat Tim Howard was signed to play for the Yuma Bullfrogs.

Howard said he is proud to represent the Imperial Valley with the minor league ball club. He added Yuma being close to home is a big reason he chose to try out with the Bullfrogs.

"It's really close to home and I'm going to be able to spend time with my daughter," Howard said. "It'll give my family and my friends a chance to see me play."

Howard, a 31-year-old 1987 graduate of Brawley High, is far from new to professional baseball. A year after high school graduation, he signed with the New York Mets, with whom he played until 1993.

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He also has played for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox organizations and managed to work his way up to the AAA level.

Howard is returning from a stay in Asia, where he played for two years.

"This is my return to baseball in the States," Howard explained. "I'm just trying to get myself back into baseball."

He emphasized that his signing with the Bullfrogs has a lot to do with Yuma being no more than an hour drive from his home town of Brawley.

"It'll be good for me to be back so close to home," he explained. "I've got everything I could want here."

He said he had opportunities to join other clubs, but he heard good things of Yuma manager Bill Plummer, who was the bullpen coach for the Seattle Mariners major league club.

"He's the hometown hero," explained Jim Howell, the team's director of media and play-by-play announcer.

Howell said during a signing ceremony at Brawley High on Friday that he is happy the Bullfrogs signed Howard.

Howard was presented with the African-American Images Award from the staff at Brawley High.

"It's a pleasure to have a person like Tim and his abilities," said Plummer. "We're looking for good things this year and we're very fortunate to have him."

The Bullfrogs' Sam Pepper presented Brawley Union High School District Superintendent Garth Isom, and Brawley High itself with an autographed Howard jersey from the Bullfrogs. Howard, who will most likely play center field for the Yuma team, will wear No. 8.

The Bullfrogs open the regular season at Desert Sun Stadium in Yuma on May 15. Howell, who presented Bullfrog tickets to all in attendance at the Brawley varsity baseball game with Southwest, said tickets are available and Imperial Valley fans are encouraged to attend Bullfrog home games.

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