New Spokane Indians outfielder Jamie Jarmon earned recognition as Delaware’s player of the year as a senior at Indian River High School.
That was as a quarterback in football.
Jarmon’s heart belonged to baseball. He was set to play both sports at South Carolina, with a scholarship in baseball, when the Texas Rangers came knocking one year ago.
Once Texas drafted Jarmon in the second round, with the 83rd overall pick, he put aside a future in Columbia, S.C.
“In the back of my head I was thinking I wanted to play baseball,” Jarmon said. “I wanted to get this pro thing going. It was fairly easy, especially after the circumstances of how early I went. There was not any second-guessing.”
Jarmon was born and raised in Millsboro, Del., a “kind-of-out-in-the-middle-of- nowhere” town about 2 hours’ drive from Philadelphia and Baltimore.
Officially Jermyll Jarmon, the name he shares with his father, Jamie grew up sharing his dad’s appreciation for baseball. Football was for fun, and time away from high school sports was reserved for hunting and fishing.
“Everybody seemed to know me a little bit more as a football player, but baseball’s always been my first love and passion,” he said. “Football, I was just good at it so I played throughout high school.”
Jarmon, who turns 19 next week, started his professional career one year ago with the Rangers’ rookie league team in Arizona.
Although the team won the league championship, Jarmon struggled at the plate. He finished the season 24 for 131 (.183), but the latter half of the season was an improvement.
“It was a difficult adjustment for me, just because I probably hadn’t played as much baseball as a lot of the guys,” Jarmon said.
Jarmon played left field and a little bit of center field for the rookie club, but the Indians have had him in right field during this week’s minicamp at Avista Stadium.
Jarmon, who has added 20 pounds of muscle since draft day, said he’s felt more comfortable at the plate during instructional league and extended spring training.
“Not being overaggressive, for me, is the biggest thing,” Jarmon said. “Being selective to get the pitch that I can handle and drive.”
His father, who operates Jarmon Trucking back home, and mother Jill are expected in town for the Indians’ Northwest League season-opening series against Everett, starting Friday night. His parents didn’t see him play in Arizona last year as they tended to Jamie’s three younger brothers, all of whom play baseball.
“My dad is probably my biggest fan,” Jarmon said. “Up until pro ball he pretty much taught me everything.”
Left-hander Tyler Olson (University High), just drafted out of Gonzaga by the Seattle Mariners, is on the Everett AquaSox’s roster and is expected to be in Spokane for the season-opening series. … The Indians added infielder Evan Van Hoosier to their roster. Van Hoosier was drafted in the eighth round last week out of Southern Nevada. … As of Wednesday, about 400 tickets were still available for Friday’s season opener.