Story last updated at 11/7/2012 - 1:11 pm
Ever wondered about someone you pass on the sidewalk, see in the grocery store, or heard mentioned in stories? This is our attempt to track those people down, and grill them, lightly.
Jamar Hill's presence emanates steez. That is, "style with ease," according to the Urban Dictionary, (www.urbandictionary.com). He stands tall and confident, smiles easily and moves through any room like it's his own living room.
But he's also humble, especially for someone that played professional baseball for six years. Hill, who is now 30 years old, was drafted by the New York Mets fresh out of high school, in Anchorage.
Originally from Phoenix, Hill moved to Anchorage when he was four.
"I don't think it was an awkward transition," Hill said. "I used to love playing in the pool in Arizona, but we moved to a neighborhood that had a lot of kids my age. So I had a pretty fun childhood."
His parents divorced when he was in grade school and he lived full time with his mother.
"She's pretty strict," he said. "She's a hard worker. She influenced me that way. I always needed to be focused on something. She really motivated me to be focused on things, and not hang out with the wrong crowd or get involved with the wrong stuff."
But, he admitted, "I had my moments, being a wild child."
He started playing baseball when he was nine. He played through high school and during one of his games was approached by a Mets scout.
"He said he liked the way I approached playing baseball, and that he was going to draft me," Hill said. "I didn't think anything of it."
Actually, he forgot about it, or so he claims. During lunch one day of his senior year, his friends had found out via the internet that Hill had been drafted and broke the news to him.
"It was cool," he said. "It was a really good feeling, but I wanted to go to school."
Hill wanted to go to the University of Washington, but if he enrolled in a junior college it allowed him the opportunity to sign on with a team at the end of the school year.
"If you go to a four-year school you have to wait until you're 21," Hill said.
After his first year at Santa Ana College in California, he was again drafted by the Mets. He turned down the opportunity to play for the Anchorage Bucs. Since he was a boy, he had been spending summers in Seattle playing on a baseball league. This was his first summer in Anchorage in a long time.
"It was the funnest summer I'd had, probably ever, playing baseball," Hill said. "I could get done with a game and then get lost in the woods, go fishing. There was a lot of fun to be had."
After one more year of college, the Mets again recruited him, this time offering to pay his tuition at whatever school he chose. He started playing rooky ball and training in Tennessee.
"I had never been in the south," Hill said. "I had never played in humidity. I liked it. I think I'm excited about new prospects like that. Instead of being overwhelmed about the things that aren't familiar I just took it all in and readily enjoyed it."
He never made it to the big leagues, but said every Mets game he watches he always sees someone he either played with or against.
After six seasons he moved to Juneau, to where his mother had relocated. He enrolled at the University of Southeast Alaska. Upon graduating with a bachelor's in marketing this past May, Hill was offered a job with the American Legion. He said his job is mainly comprised of a lot of baseball coaching, and some project management.
"I like that it doesn't feel like a job," Hill said. "I like coaching, more and more."
Though he lives in Anchorage now, he travels a lot, most recently to oversee the construction of a field in Sitka.
"It was notorious because it had rocks and puddles on it and was in a swamp," he said. "Now it's probably the best field in the state and the community is really excited about it."
What would he do with a day if he could do anything?
"I'd show up to some place I've never been and have a great day of just connecting with really good people," he said. "I think things like that give you a good feeling about humanity."
Amanda Compton is the staff writer for the Capital City Weekly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.