Former MHS player helps coach while pursuing career as tattoo artist


Coach Jose Carbajal stands outside the cage as he helps tweak mechanics on the players swing. He gives his feedback on how the hitters can improve their swing and stay engaged at the plate.

Carbajal, a former student-athlete, has returned to Merrillville High School to be a varsity baseball coach while also pursuing a tattooing career. He played varsity baseball all 4 years here from 2010-2013, and went on to play collegiate college baseball at Indiana Tech University.

Coach Carbajal introduced to the game at a young age.

“When I was younger, my dad was playing in an adult league and I saw him hit a homerun righty, then his next at bat he hit another lefty. I told him I was going to do that one day and I’ve been hooked on baseball ever since,” Carbajal said.

When Carbajal got to high school he played varsity as a freshman, he experienced some of his best memories playing for Merrillville High School.

“My time playing baseball here was some of the most memorable times in my life. I was fortunate enough to play alongside amazing teammates and coaches that brought the best out of me,” the coach said.

After playing baseball in college, he knew he wanted to still be involved with the game.

“When I was younger I did not expect to be a coach,” he said. “I thought I was going to play baseball until I was 50. As I was finishing up college baseball, I realized I wanted to coach. I wanted to stay involved in the sport and help the youth get further than I did.”

Coach Carbajal wants to help the next generation of baseball players who were once in his shoes.

“The reason I came back to coach was simple,” he said. “I wanted to give back to the kids the way the coaches did for me. I want to pass down what I learned not only to make them better at the plate but to create a fun atmosphere that makes their time here memorable for them.”

Carbajal admits that with coaching, your emotions are up and down.

“Coaching has been a roller coaster of emotions. You go through all kinds of emotions, but I’ve mostly been proud and excited all year,” Carbajal said.

Alongside being varsity baseball coach, Carbajal also is pursuing a career as a tattoo artist.

“I always enjoyed art and doing something new,” he said. “The idea of having artwork that lasts a lifetime fascinated me.”

Although he always loved art, he never thought it would be a career he would be pursuing.

“I enjoyed art as a hobby but the thought of a career never crossed my mind. I honestly didn’t even know if I would have the courage to do one,” Carbajal said.

However, he believes that this is the perfect time to be a tattoo artist.

“I lucked out and started tattooing at a time where tattoos have been more and more socially accepted,” Carbajal said.

He uses tattooing as a kind of therapy that helps him relax.

“When I tattoo, I go into my own world and relax,” he said. “All the worries I might have have disappear, and I safely focus on creating something that someone loves.” 

Carbajal has some his advice for getting started in the tattoo industry.

“The best advice I can give is to have patience and knowledge, find a great mentor, learn as much as you can from them, and practice,” he said. “There are a lot of little but very important things to know before you even touch a machine.”

Carbajal has really enjoyed his time coaching so far, and plans to coach for many years to come.

“My time coaching so far has been amazing,” he said. “Being able to witness these players grow and improve every day is everything. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to start my coaching journey with.”