My son and I met Don Zimmer on April 3, 2010, during a trip to Durham to see the Rays take on the Durham Bulls in an exhibition game, before the start of the baseball season. I don’t remember very much from the game, but I do remember meeting Don Zimmer after the game.
He was signing autographs as he was waiting for the Rays to exit the stadium and board the team bus. I knew who Zimmer was, from his days on the Yankees coaching staff, and figured it would be a good idea for my son to meet him and get an autograph.
My son was 4 at the time, and didn’t really want to, but I talked him into getting the autograph. Zimmer was even kind enough to pose for a picture. He was very nice to us and was very patient with the fidgety 4-year old, and it is something I will never forget.
Zimmer, who spent parts of eight decades in professional baseball, was truly a baseball lifer. Starting as a minor leaguer in 1949, and ending as a special adviser for the Rays upon his passing, Zimmer left his mark all over the game. He was a teammate of Jackie Robinson on the 1954 through 1956 Dodgers, the 1989 NL Manager of the Year, and was a part of 6 World Series Championship teams (4 as a coach for the Yankees in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000) and two as a player for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1955 and 1959).
Zimmer was 83 years old.
-William Regenthal is a staff writer for ProSportsExtra.com