Don Zimmer passes away at 83

Game 58: How About More Than Two Runs?
DotF: Austin and O'Brien both go deep in Trenton's loss
(AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
(AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Former Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer has passed away at age 83, his family confirmed. He had surgery in April to correct a leaky heart valve and had been in a Florida rehabilitation center ever since. Zimmer spent the 1983 and 1996-2003 seasons on the Yankees’ coaching staff.

“Don spent a lifetime doing what he loved,” said Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. “He was an original—a passionate, old-school, one-of-a-kind baseball man who contributed to a memorable era in Yankees history. The baseball community will certainly feel this loss. On behalf of our organization, we offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Soot, their two children and four grandchildren.”

“I hired him as a coach, and he became like a family member to me,” added Joe Torre in a statement. “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.”

Zimmer spent 66 years in baseball as a player, a manager, a coach, and a front office executive. He played with Jackie Robinson, managed Carl Yastrzemski, and coached Derek Jeter. Zimmer was also an original Met and had worked most recently with the Rays as a senior advisor. He left the Yankees following the 2003 season because he felt he was being treated unfairly by George Steinbrenner.

“I said, ‘I don’t want to watch it no more,'” said Zimmer to Tom D’Angelo in 2010. “George was my friend for 25 years, and all of a sudden, he just turned.”

Zimmer grew up in Cincinnati, married his wife at home plate before a minor league game in 1951, and had two kids and four grandkids. Condolences go out to his family and friends.

email
Game 58: How About More Than Two Runs?
DotF: Austin and O'Brien both go deep in Trenton's loss
  • ANSKY

    RIP Popeye. I’ll never forget the Yankees army helmet and seeing him go balls out after Pedro.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadgeek Roadgeek Adam

    The Zim is gone, a 1962 Met. I wonder what Pedro Martinez is thinking.

  • JLC 776

    Tough news. RIP to one of the most memorable personalities of the Dynasty.

  • PaulP

    Rest in Peace, I always liked him.

  • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

    That stinks.

    We love you Zim!

  • Yankeefan91

    sad day in baseball :'(

  • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

    Another piece of my childhood goes with him.

    Rest in peace, Zim. You were baseball.

  • Jacoby Eddardsbury

    Always loved seeing him in the dugout during the Torre years. The man knew baseball.

  • And in merrie olde England

    So sad the only thing that so many people will remember him for is being Pedro’s throwpiece.

    • Jack P

      I really don’t think thats true, that is actually an insult to his legacy of spending over 60 years in baseball.

      • And in merrie olde England

        Welcome to the point Jack P, after denying what’s happening on general forums do you want to contribute more than repetition?

    • Mike HC

      I think a lot of people will remember that brawl, but not in the way you put it. More in the way of he was willing to put himself at risk to defend his men.

  • Michahiro Pinaka

    RIP Don. Like ANSKY above, I’ll never forget the army helmet.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com.....oto035.jpg

  • Jack P

    Man every piece of that 90’s dynasty is being whisked away, Zimmer dies, Bernies gone, Rivera gone, Posada Gone, Pettite gone, Jeter retiring this year. We were very lucky to have Zimmer as our bench coach during those dynasty years, I’ll miss that man.

  • dot

    Baseball as a whole lost an incredible man today. Sad day indeed.

  • captain obvious

    RIP ZIM

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    RIP, Zimm.

  • EndlessJose

    R.I.P

    Don Zimmer

    Great coach and always a Yankee.

  • Zach

    RIP Don, truly one of baseball’s greats.

  • Mike HC

    Sad news, but he lived a great life. Always remember him going right after Pedro, no hesitation.

  • trr

    A great baseball life. 66 years in the game, are you kidding me?
    Thanks Don, I’m glad you were able to spend some of those years with us, and contribute your experience and wisdom to our Championship Teams.

    RIP, Zim.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadgeek Roadgeek Adam

    Joe Maddon breaking up while talking, something you’re not used to seeing.

    Credit to MLB teams throughout the country, every team is doing long talks about him. About to watch the Vin Scully one myself. That one should be well eloquated.

  • Nathan

    RIP Zim.

    Always liked him and my favorite memory will be an All-Star game (can’t remember which) where Joe Torre was mic’d and talking to the booth and Zim came up and said something like “hey, we’re playing a game here”.

    And I’ll always remember the Pedro incident because that’s what really got my GF involved in Yankee baseball. She was never really into it prior or if she was, it was real casual and probably just for Jeter. But after that incident, I remember her saying “That guy (Pedro) is an a$$…I hope the Yankees kill them now” and that was the moment she started to turn into a hardcore Yankee fan.

  • Kiko Jones

    Zim was the real life Gump/Zelig: it seemed like he was there for every notable baseball moment of the last 66 years. And aside from all those other unforgettable moments elsewhere, there were some Yankees-related ones—the ’78 Boston Massacre, the late ’90s dynasty—including being the only person present and in uniform to witness all 3 perfect games at Yankee Stadium. Man…

    He shall be missed.

  • csonk

    Baseball lost one of the true ‘personalities’ of the past grand old game. RIP Coach. Baseball & many many fans of the game will miss you. I have a picture of you superimposed with the cast of The Soprano’s on my filing cabinet in my office with the saying, “So… you said his name was Pedro huh”? Classic Zim

  • mike

    IMO I thought the whole manager/staff took a giant step back when Zim left, as there were no coaches who were anywhere near Torre’s age or gravitas/expertise after Zim left on the offensive side of the game. Then, Stottlemeyer left right thereafter – leaving Torre with Randolph, Mattingly, Guidry, Girardi etc….none of whom ( I believe) had Torre’s ear, or who had the experience Torre ( being old-school) would rely on.

    there is no way the midge game happens in 2007 with Joba if Zim is there

  • http://www.1960sbaseball.com/blog 1960s Baseball

    Don Zimmer’s heart and baseball knowledge carved out a six-decade career and carried him beyond his talent as a player. Rest in peace.