Friday, June 6, 2014

Former Sox Skipper Don Zimmer Passes Away

Don Zimmer (1931-2014)
He never did anything else besides baseball. Don Zimmer—who passed away Wednesday at the age of 83—spent 66 years in the sport he loved so much. He was one of a vanishing breed of baseball lifers—and was actually a teammate of the great Jackie Robinson. Zimmer's managerial career was unfairly linked to the epic collapse of his 1978 Red Sox team—perhaps one of the most talent-laden in baseball history. After leading by 14.5 games in August, they ended the season in a one-game playoff loss to The Evil Ones and one Bucky F. Dent. But Zimmer's career was so much bigger than that one season. He complied a .509 winning percentage with Boston, The Bronx Embalmers, Padres, Rangers and Cubs (who he piloted to the NL East championship in 1989). Personally, I will always remember an encounter my young son and I had with Zim at a BoSox Club luncheon several years ago. I introduced him as a former Red Sox manager—and he sadly talked about the abuse he got in town. Zim deserved better. May he rest in peace.