Don Zimmer has died. He was 83-years-old.
The former MLB coach and manager passed away on Wednesday, less than two months after he underwent heart surgery. USA Today reported that the iconic baseball figure “went peacefully” according to his son, Tom. He had been in the hospital since his surgery which was on April 16.
While Zimmer worked for quite a few organizations throughout his career, his time with the New York Yankees was quite notable. He became part of the dynasty in the 1990s and earned himself several championship rings.
Former Yankees manager Joe Torre released the following statement:
“I hired him as a coach, and he became like a family member to me. He has certainly been a terrific credit to the game. The game was his life. And his passing is going to create a void in my life and my wife Ali’s. We loved him. The game of baseball lost a special person tonight. He was a good man.”
Don Zimmer was most recently a part of the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He wore their jersey for 11 seasons. As a matter of fact, third base coach Tom Foley recently paid tribute to Zimmer by wearing a jersey with “Zimmer” on the back, proving how loved and respected he truly was. According to The New York Times, Zimmer dedicated 60 years of his life to America’s favorite pastime. He was even married on a baseball diamond back in 1951!
In “The Zen of Zim” written with Bill Madden in 2004, Zimmer said:
“All I’ve ever been is a simple baseball man, but it’s never ceased to amaze me how so many far more accomplished people I’ve met in this life wanted to be one, too. What a game, this baseball!”
Don Zimmer is survived by his wife, Jean, his son, Tom, his daughter, Donna, and four grandchildren: Beau, Whitney, Ron, and Lane.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of former Sox manager Don Zimmer. One of the great colorful gems in baseball. You will be missed Zim.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) June 5, 2014
The Dodger family joins the rest of Major League Baseball in mourning the passing of one of our own, Don Zimmer: pic.twitter.com/Nmn2mUihiL
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 5, 2014
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) June 5, 2014
[Photo courtesy of Zimbio]