Waterbury Legend Jim Arline passes

James Arline, 57, died at his home in Virginia on Monday April 18,2011.
Jimmy was without a doubt one of the all-time great athletes in Waterbury history. He was the greatest headline maker of his time in Waterbury. He was a four-sport star at Wilby High School in track, baseball, basketball and football; he was an All-City, All-NVL and All-State player. It is a joy, today, to say that you played with or against Jim Arline. Back then it wasn’t so joyful if he wasn’t on your team. Who would enjoy an 0-4 day and watch home run balls fly off Arline’s bat?
In 1972, he pitched the legendary game against Naugatuck when the Greyhounds were well into their 64 game high school winning streak in front of a packed house at Municipal Stadium. Jim struck out 21 that day and was within one out to go to win the game and stop the streak at 41 games (the game before he had struck out 21 Eagles as Wilby defeated Kennedy 8-1). A little foul pop behind first base was dropped with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Naugy was able to go on and steal the victory in 11 innings. To sum up: 2 games, 20 innings, 42 strikeouts, and a performance against a Naugatuck streak that will never be forgotten.
Jimmy went on to sign a contract with the Atlanta Braves and played in their farm system for seven years – winning a Triple-A world series with the team and bestowed a ring. His fastball was clocked at 96 mph. He was so close to playing in the major leagues. He came home to play in the Waterbury Twi-Met League and with Jim Spann’s Waterbury Laurels of the Nutmeg League. He also played with the Waterbury Reds minor league affiliate. It was a joy to watch him perform, but more importantly, he was a wonderful teammate and friend. He coached and mentored all the young players with whom he played. He showed by example of how the game should be played and how one should conduct himself as a ballplayer.
In a Thumbs Up show of respect, the Wilby High School baseball team on Wednesday April 20, 2011 gathered on the mound before their game against Naugatuck for a moment of silence in remembrance of Jimmy Arline. It was a classy move that taught the Wildcats about the rich tradition their school has in the sport. Jimmy Arline was truly a champion of friendship and humility. He wasn’t the biggest to ever play the sports, but he had the biggest heart to ever come out of Waterbury.