ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Don Zimmer, a popular fixture in professional baseball for 66 years as a manager, player, coach and executive, has died. He was 83.
Zimmer was still working for the Tampa Bay Rays as a senior adviser when he died Wednesday at 83 in a hospital in nearby Dunedin. He had been in a rehabilitation center since having heart surgery in mid-April.
“Great baseball man. A baseball lifer. Was a mentor to me,” a teary-eyed Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
After starting as a minor-league infielder in 1949, Zimmer went on to have one of the longest-lasting careers in baseball history.
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Zimmer played for the only Brooklyn Dodgers team to win the World Series and the original New York Mets, nearly managed the Boston Red Sox to a championship in the 1970s and was Joe Torre’s right-hand man with the New York Yankees’ most recent dynasty.
He played under Casey Stengel on the 1962 expansion Mets, who famously went 40-120.
“Don’t blame them all on me,” Zimmer once said. “I got traded after the first 30 days.”
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