Howard looking out for brother

December 23, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

Since he started playing baseball, Brawley native Tim Howard has accomplished quite a bit.

He has walked away with some kind of accomplishment on every level he has played, whether it was Little League, high school, college, minor leagues or professional ball. In each of those he just seemed to excel.

But through all the accomplishments, all the accolades, Howard has focused on one thing: to help his family in every way possible. More specifically, he has strived to help his younger brother, Will, achieve his own dreams of playing professional baseball.

At 32, Tim Howard is admittedly nearing the end of his baseball career. He just wrapped up a successful individual season with the Yuma Bullfrogs, a professional independent baseball team. He led the team in almost every offensive category, despite playing injured throughout the year.


He is now a free agent and is waiting to make a decision on his playing future.

"The Bullfrogs called me up a couple times since the season ended and I guess they want me to come back," said Howard. "If I sign with them or sign somewhere else, who knows how much I'll be playing."

"Really, after the season ended, I was just tired of playing. For me, the off-season is just too long, but once I start playing I'll be fine," said Howard. "Right now, I'm about 300 or 400 hits away from 2,000 and I don't know if that's ever been done on this level. It'd be nice to get that, but I'm not shooting for that. You know, if the right situation comes up maybe I'll keep playing a couple more years."

But one factor weighing heavily on Howard's mind is helping his brother. At 22 Will is playing at Paine College in Augusta, Ga. About a year and one-half ago Will was named team offensive player of the year and was an all-conference center fielder.

He is entering his senior year at Paine and hopes to break into pro baseball.

Tim Howard knows his brother has the potential to continue playing on a higher level after college, but he also knows his ties in the world of pro baseball will make things easier for Will.

"He's put a lot of time in this game playing as long as he has. And I'd just love to see him play pro ball," said Tim Howard. "If he's not taken in the draft, then I'll do my best to make sure he's taken care of. I've got a lot of friends in this game and I know with his talent he can end up signing somewhere. That'd be no problem.

"I never really thought about playing alongside him," added Tim Howard. "I just want him to get the opportunity to play in the pros. He's a good player and has a lot of talent and from that side, there are a couple things I can do to help him. But if there's one thing that I can do that would help more than anything, that would be getting him into pro baseball however I can."

As of right now, Will Howard is working on getting his knee to 100 percent after an injury forced minor athroscopic surgery. He said his knee is up to about 85 percent.

Should Will Howard get back to the level of play that earned him team offensive player of the year honors, he has a shot to be taken in the Major League amateur draft. But if he is not taken in the draft, he said his brother's help will prove beneficial.

"That really is a benefit for me, with him knowing people in the business. In this game, it's a lot harder to get your foot in the door if you don't know anyone," said Will Howard. "So I really appreciate him taking care of me."

"If I don't get drafted," he added, "I still want to continue to play baseball. … And I know with his help I'll be able to do that. Growing up, I always wanted to play with him and maybe this way, I'll get to."

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