Personal injury law takes a back seat today so I can recognize a good man who passed away yesterday – Don Zimmer.
Don Zimmer was an ambassador for what baseball should be. He was in baseball for 66 years and never in his life received a paycheck from anywhere but baseball. He started out as a minor league baseball player in 1949 and played alongside the great Jackie Robinson. He got married at home plate and remained married his wife “Soot” in 1951. Two years later in the minors, Mr. Zimmer was hit by a fastball and left in a coma. He was in a coma for 13 days. This sparked the mandatory helmet rule in the American League.
Mr. Zimmer coached my Chicago Cubs and led them to a division title in 1989 and was named Manager of the Year. For the past ten years, he has been a senior advisor for my Tampa Bay Rays.
My buddy and I would see Mr. Zimmer at the Rays events. He was always so friendly and willing to talk to us fans. He would talk to us as if we were his best friends. He told me one time that one of his dreams was to see a Chicago Cubs v. Tampa Bay Rays World Series – mine too!
Mr. Zimmer and his family made Pinellas County his home since the 1950s. Although a lot has changed around him, he never did.
Not only did baseball lose a good man, the world lost a good man. Rest in peace, Mr. Zimmer! My prayers and thoughts to your family!