RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Former Felician College baseball player Jimmy Simpson (Biscayne Park, Fla./Coral Gables) has signed a professional contract for 2013 with the Fort Worth (Texas) Cats of the independent United Baseball League.
Simpson, 23, was a four-year starter for Felician from 2009 to 2012. He played regularly at four positions over the course of his career – second base, third base, shortstop, and left field. Simpson was an all-Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference honoree in both his junior and senior seasons, including as a utility man in 2011. A .262 career hitter, he is 13th in Golden Falcon history with 127 career base hits, and is also among the program's all-time leaders in sacrifices and toughest-to-strike-out rate.
"It is every baseball player's dream growing up to play professionally," Simpson said. "Getting this opportunity is amazing. It's a great feeling to get paid to play the game. I'm a little nervous, but it's still the same game – you have to throw the ball, catch the ball and hit the ball."
Simpson was signed directly out of an open tryout in December. He reports to Fort Worth on May 11, and the Cats' regular season commences on May 23. His ability to move around the diamond was one of the features that made him attractive.
"Jimmy is a hard-nosed player who showed a lot of ability at our tryout," said Steve Maddock, Fort Worth's director of baseball operations. "He has really smooth hands and a cannon for an arm. He has a chance to come to spring training and compete for a job at third base, second, or a utility role."
The independent version of the Forth Worth Cats was founded in 2002. The Cats won the Central League championship in 2005 as well as the 2006 and 2007 American Association crowns. The Cats played in the North American League the last two seasons before joining the United League for 2013.
Simpson is a 2008 graduate of Coral Gables High. He is the 11th former Felician player to sign a professional contract, including the sixth position player. The complete list can be viewed at http://www.felicianathletics.com/sports/bsb/archive/pros.
"Jimmy's versatility makes any manager's job easier," said 10th-year Felician head coach Chris Langan. "He possesses above-average defensive ability at several positions, and makes consistent contact at the plate. Over the last two years he has made marked improvements to his speed and strength. We are proud of Jimmy and his accomplishments and wish him well for a solid season."
Felician College is a coeducational, liberal arts, Catholic college, enrolling 2,300 students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the Arts and Sciences, Business and Management, Teacher Education, and Health Sciences and Nursing. A Division II member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Felician College competes in baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, cross-country, men's golf, women's volleyball, and cheerleading. Founded in 1942 by the Felician Sisters in the Franciscan tradition, Felician College is located on two campuses in Lodi and Rutherford, New Jersey.