The baseball world suffered a great loss after news spread that Don Zimmer died on Wednesday (June 4).
ESPN reports that Zimmer died in a Dunedin, Fla. hospital after undergoing a seven-hour heart surgey operation in April. The Cincinnati, Ohio native spent 66 years in the baseball profession, including 12 seasons as an MLB player.
Zimmer was teammates with Jackie Robinson on the Brooklyn Dodgers, who won the 1955 World Series against the New York Yankees. Zimmer would go on to have a 44-year career as a manager and coach, including a stint with the Yankees as their bench coach from 1996-2003 that included four World Series wins. He spent the last ten years as an advisor for the Tampa Bay Rays.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 5, 2014
Many around the league gave their condolences and thoughts about Zimmer’s death.
“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,” former Yankees manager Joe Torre said in a statement.
“On behalf of Major League Baseball and the many clubs that ‘Popeye’ served in a distinguished baseball life, I extend my deepest condolences to Don’s family, friends and his many admirers throughout our game,” commissioner Bud Selig also said in a statement.
Rays broadcaster Todd Kalas was understandably emotional when reporting on Zimmer’s passing.
Longtime Dodgers announcer Vin Scully fondly remembered Zimmer after news broke his death.
Zimmer is survived by his wife, Carol Jean Bauerle; his son Thomas; daughter Donna; and four grandchildren.