RIP Don Zimmer (January 17, 1931 — June 4, 2014)
Welcome to Collecting Zim, a website devoted to one of baseball's most colorful and courageous characters, Don Zimmer. Zimmer led a full baseball life like no other. From his playing days for the Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, Reds, and Senators to his coaching, managing and executive positions; Zim joked that he never drew a paycheck outside of baseball. Along the way, he was involved in many colorful incidents and memorable moments that brought smiles to baseball fans everywhere.
I was first introduced to Don Zimmer when he became manager of my beloved Cubbies in 1988. The joy he brought to the stadium, and the memorable way in which he skippered the "Boys of Zimmer" squad to the 1989 pennant captured my loyalty. As I learned about his past and watched his career continue to evolve, I realized just how amazing his career in baseball had been and how charmed a life he had lived. I was inspired to build myself a Don Zimmer collection (baseball cards have always been a hobby of mine) and later this tribute website. I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about this fun-loving and full-of-life baseball personality. Be sure to drop me a line if you have any questions, comments, or something to add to the collection!
Thanks for visiting!
Don Zimmer Trivia — Did You Know:
- The rumor that Zim had a steel plate in his head is false? After his 1953 beaning, four tantalum (a blue-grey metal used for medical implants due to its corrosion resistance and chemical inertness) corkscrew "buttons" were placed in small holes that had been drilled into his skull to alleviate pressure from brain swelling, but a metal plate was never inserted.
- Zim owned 6 World Series rings, two from his playing days as a Dodger and four as a coach with the Yankees?
- With the Tampa Bay Rays, Zim changed his uniform number each year to represent the number of years he has spent in baseball? At the time of his death in 2014, he wore 64.
- During his playing days, Zim wore jersey numbers 14, 17, 23, and 34?
- Zim was teammates with 13 Hall of Famers, including: Pee Wee Reese, Sandy Koufax, Richie Ashburn, Jackie Robinson, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Lou Brock, Don Drysdale, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Dick Williams, Tommy Lasorda, and Frank Robinson?
- Zim was the last surviving member of the Brooklyn Dodgers still working day-to-day on an MLB field in 2014?
- George Brett has Zim to blame for starting the infamous Pine Tar affair? Zim was the one who urged Yankees manager Billy Martin to have Brett's bat checked.
- The nickname "Popeye" was given to him by Dodger's teammate Roy Campanella, in admiration of his brawny forearms? Zim, though possessing a small frame, was one of the more powerful middle infielders in his day.
- Zim's other nickname, "The Gerbil," was acrimoniously bestowed on him by Red Sox pitcher Bill "Spaceman" Lee? The two famously feuded during their time in Beantown, with manager Zim often at odds with the group of free-spirited players led by Ferguson Jenkins known as "The Buffalo Heads."
- Zim is one of four major leaguers to have been ejected from a game in six different decades? The other three fiery members of this club include Casey Stengel, Leo Durocher, and Frank Robinson.