Zimmerman set to chase dream


NIU’s Jeff Zimmerman, playing for Hannibal, drives a single to the outfield Sunday night.

By Brian Earle

After all the success baseball had this season with its first-ever MAC West title, former first basemen Jeff Zimmerman followed that up with a major accomplishment of his own.

On June 8, the third day of the major league baseball draft, Zimmerman was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 19th round as the 567th overall pick.

This is the second season in a row a Huskie player has been selected in the draft as Jake Hermsen was selected last season by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 28th round as the 866th overall pick. Zimmerman is the10th player drafted under coach Ed Mathey, who took over the program in 2003.

“I think it’s a goal, it’s a dream for any player,” Mathey said. “I think at a certain point after you’ve played this game for a while, you’d love a chance to play professional baseball with an affiliated team and just hear your name get called on the draft board. So for Jeff it’s a realization of that and the effort and time he’s put into things.”

Zimmerman was a huge bat in the Huskies’ lineup in his final season as he led the Huskies with a .321 batting average with 70 hits, 17 doubles and three triples.

He was also No. 2 on the team with 30 RBIs. Zimmerman did not record a home run in his final season. He was not only selected for his bat as he recorded just three errors in 2013.

On June 12, Zimmerman and 12 other players drafted by the Seattle organization officially signed major league contracts with the Mariners.

By signing with the Mariners, Zimmerman has decided to forego his senior season with the Huskies and play on the Pulaski Mariners, a minor league affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.

In his career at NIU Zimmerman recorded a .306 batting average while hitting 17 home runs and driving in 106 RBI’s.

“He’s had three really good years,” Mathey said. “You know if he doesn’t get drafted he’s probably going to come back and find his name on the tops of a lot of record books but that’s the way it goes. He was a good hitter for average, his defense improved tremendously, his athleticism, he worked at the plate and got better as things went on, so I think those all went into Seattle saying, ‘Hey, we like this guy.’”