Don Zimmer was a huge part of the New York Yankees for a lot of years. He was Joe Torre's right hand man. He was someone Derek Jeter appreciated in the clubhouse. In fact, I thought I remembered Zim was in charge of Jeter's bat while he sat in the dugout during games.
I did some digging... and I found the source.
"'... when the games began, I had to hold his bat between at-bats,' Zimmer said."Thank you New York Daily News.
I was always a fan of Don Zimmer and that goes back, when he was in Chicago. Now, I know he was the Red Sox manager during some really great rivalry games against the Yanks, but at the time, I didn't think much of it. I just wanted to beat him.
Now, I'm a card collector. I remember after the 1998 World Series championship, I went to a baseball card shop in Oakland, New Jersey. The place was called Everything Baseball, and believe me, it literally had everything. I was searching around for Yankee players past and present. My goal was to get some classics... and I did. I bought this that day:
It still remains in my collection to this day. Sure, back then Zimmer was a Dodger, but at the time I made the purchase, and still to this day, it's my favorite card. I am fascinated with the fact that he has been involved in baseball for over 50 years. He's a baseball icon, not just a Yankee icon.
When I read that Zimmer died, I felt bad. In fact, I'm having some trouble writing this post, actually. He was instrumental in the Yankees run in the late 1990's. The players loved him and he was respected by them. The fans truly loved him. He's was a brilliant baseball mind, a grandfather to all of us, and we can never forget him, running out toward Pedro to protect the Yankees honor.
Granted, if I was Pedro and a crazy old man came running out to attack me, who knows what I would have done, but I will tell you this, at the time, with tensions high, it was the bravest, most noble thing a coach could do for a team. I know, it sounds sappy. The reality is, as a Yankee fan, you appreciated the gesture and when it was all over, he was embarassed... and we were for him too.
I hope the Yankees do the right thing and give Zimmer the proper honor. He was a great coach and a true baseball icon. The best to Mr. Zimmer's family... from all of us here at Bleeding Yankee Blue.
Rest in Peace, old friend. You didn't do good for us Zim... you did great for us! Thank you.
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