Greyhound track sign given to Rays' Maddon to honor Zimmer
JUN 11, 2014 6:05p ET
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Don Zimmer was a baseball man at heart, but a symbol of one of his other passions now belongs to Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Zimmer, the baseball legend and a former Rays senior adviser who died June 4 at age 83, enjoyed spending hour after hour at Derby Lane, a popular greyhound track in St. Petersburg. Last Saturday, before the celebration of Zimmer's life at Tropicana Field, Maddon tweeted a tribute to one of his friend's favorite pastimes.
On Wednesday, before the Rays' series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, that sign was carried into Maddon's office at Tropicana Field. Track officials gave the sign to Maddon to honor Zimmer.
"I'm staggered by that," Maddon said. "I mean that sincerely. There's that sign — that Derby Lane sign. ... I would drive by that back side of Derby Lane, and that sign has been there. And often times, I'll be driving with Jaye (Maddon's wife), but then I say, 'Someday, when they're done with that, I want that sign. I want that sign.' I've been saying that for years now."
Maddon said he's undecided on where the sign will appear. This much he knows for now: He'll restore it and place it in a visible location for all to enjoy, in memory of a great, missed baseball soul.
"I think it needs to be shared," Maddon said. "So I'm going to try to figure out a way to share it."