Sad news in baseball tonight. Former Cubs, Rangers, Red Sox and Padres manager Don Zimmer has died. He was 83 years old.
Cubs fans will best remember Zimmer as the manager of the 1989 NL East Champion Cubs team, often nicknamed "The Boys of Zimmer." But his Cubs roots went deeper than that as he was the third-base coach on the 1984 NL East Champions team. As a player, he was a second baseman and utility infielder for the Cubs in 1960 and 1961, hitting .254 with 19 home runs in those two years.
Zimmer has been employed by baseball more or less continuously since he signed with Brooklyn as a player in 1949. He reached the majors with the Dodgers in 1954 and stayed with Brooklyn/Los Angeles until coming to the Cubs in 1960. He also played for the Mets, Reds and Senators.
He managed 13 years in the majors, but he is best known for managing the 1978 Red Sox, who collapsed down the stretch, and the 1989 Cubs, who were the only team he led to the post-season.
Zimmer was always one of the more colorful characters in the game, a throwback to the 1950s. He was the last player for the Brooklyn Dodgers still active in the game. Although he never managed again after being fired by the Cubs in 1991, he had stayed in the game as a coach for over a decade. Most famously, he was Joe Torre's right-hand man during the Yankees late-90s dynasty. Since 2004, he has served as an advisor to the Tampa Bay Rays.
We offer our condolences to the Zimmer family. The baseball world is a little less colorful today and a little bit diminished.