A Baseball Lifer, RIP
To call Don Zimmer a “baseball lifer” isn’t doing much justice to the life of a lifer…….
Everyone knows who he was, everyone loved him. I stole this from wikipedia: he married his one and only wife (Soot. Come on, “Soot?” lol) at home plate before a minor league game in 1951. He started dating her in 10th grade, I’m not sure she knew what she was getting herself into. But if you’re a chick and your nickname is “Soot” you’re probably cool with getting down and dirty with the ballgame back in the 50’s. That reminds me of Jerry Garcia’s wife “Mountain Girl”. I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume both of these chicks didn’t earmark too many dollars towards razor blades……
He coached on the Giants staff in 1987. Maybe it was because that was such a magical year, but he seemed to be around SF a lot longer than one year.
Probably because he was always “around”. After his playing career ended (um, Zimmer stole 45 bases?) he managed 4 teams. He coached on 11. Most recently, he coached on the Rays staff for the last 10 years. Think about that, you just break off a clean decade like it was a piece of cheddar at the end of your 66 year career in a random gig like The Rays. I guess that’s how you get to 66…..
None of us will ever forget the bizarre mismatch between Zimmer and Pedro Martinez during a 2003 playoff game. I’m not going to give the link, it’s painful to watch. Pedro did nothing wrong there, in my opinion. You have some dude zeroing in on you, you have like half a second to recognize the threat, and then you just quickly decide to send him past you. Adrenaline is up. I don’t fault Pedro there. And Zimmer’s apology after the game was one of the most heartfelt apologies I’ve ever seen a baseball professional man make publicly.
Every baseball dugout should have a *Don Zimmer* sitting on it’s bench. And you’d think that there’s a million *lifers* who could do just that. And yet, I can’t think of another one who did it quite like Zimmer. One lifer. Gone today. Easy to honor.