Park River native Will Zimmerman is living his professional dream by playing in his home country
“I’ve been all over the country and it’s all coming back and hopefully I’ve found a good enough place to settle here for a while,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman’s path to wearing a RedHawks uniform hasn’t been easy, although it got a taste when he started swinging the bat.
“I remember the first time I heard from them (the RedHawks) I must have been about six or eight and they had one of their camps here and my brother and I came over,” Zimmerman said. .
Almost two decades later, Zimmerman returns to Newman Outdoor Field. This time around, he hopes to be there for the long haul.
“I really had no idea what professional ball was really like until I got here (Fargo). It was always a dream when I was a kid to one day play professional ball. I had no idea who it was going to be for, where it was going to be, ”Zimmerman said.
After starting his college career in Arkansas State, Zimmerman broke his hand. A moment that almost made him give up his dream.
“I couldn’t even hold a bat then, so it was pretty close to the end of the year and I couldn’t play the rest of the year after that. Guess I wasn’t very happy at this point and went over there and told the coaches that I had no plans to come back. I left there (state of Arkansas) with the intention of not playing baseball anymore. I wanted to be done, find a job, and then I ended up working over the summer and I hate my job, ”Zimmerman said.
After returning to North Dakota for a year, Zimmerman knew he had more to give to the game he was so passionate about. So he picked up the phone and called University of Minnesota-Crookston head coach Steve Gust.
“It was actually like two days before school started, I decided to call Coach Gust and see if he still had enough heart to give me a spot and he did. , so I’m grateful for that, ”Zimmerman said.
Will Zimmerman of the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks sprints to third base before completing the first inning of the RedHawks’ game against the Chicago Dogs on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum
“I always told Will that if things didn’t work out in the south, he always had a place to play with us. I think he kept that in his head the whole time. We talked about it in staff, could we take another guy? But it’s Will Zimmerman, of course we can, ”said Gust.
When Zimmerman’s college career ended last month, it was time for Gust to return the favor. It was an opportunity to put Zimmerman back in the game.
“I was really lucky to receive this call. He said Fargo RedHawks manager Chris Coste is looking for a guy so he could call you, maybe not. Not even 30 seconds later I got a call from Coste and told me they needed a player for the night. I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I said, ‘When is play time?’ “Zimmerman said.
What Zimmerman thought was a game spins a full season in the American Association.
“I was like, ‘Wow, the stars are sort of lining up right now,’” Zimmerman said.
A simple phone call gives this North Dakota native a chance to live out his dream where it all began.
“I would never bet against Will Zimmerman,” said Gust.
“To be so close to home and with the RedHawks, it’s a godsend, it’s amazing,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman is becoming an important part of the RedHawks’ rotation. He hit .299 on the season with three home runs. He says the most important thing is that the family can also attend the majority of their games at Fargo.