Don Zimmer, who was born Jan. 17, 1931 in Cincinnati, signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1949. He was called up to the big-league club in the summer of 1954 and played alongside Jackie Robinson through '56. Zimmer died from heart and kidney problems on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, at the age of 83. Here's a look at his baseball life in pictures.
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Fun with the 'Bums'
Here's a fearsome foursome (from left): Brooklyn Dodgers infielders Billy Cox, Pee Wee Reese, Don Zimmer and Gil Hodges. During Zimmer's six-plus seasons with the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers, he hit .228 with 43 homers and 161 RBI. In '58, the the club's first season on the West Coast, Zimmer posted career-highs in homers (17), RBI (60) and batting average (.262).
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Zimmer's final major-league season was 1965, finishing as a career .235 hitter with 91 homers, 352 RBI, 733 hits and two World Series rings (1955 & '59). His playing career included stints with the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers (1954-59), Chicago Cubs (1960-61), the first New York Mets team and Cincinnati Reds (1962), back with the LA Dodgers (1963) and the Washington Senators (1963-65).
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Two years after his major-league playing career, Zimmer was a player-manager in the Cincinnati farm system in 1967. Four years later, he was coaching third base for the Montreal Expos. He took the same position with San Diego (pictured above) in '72, before replacing Preston Gomez 11 games into the season as the Padres manager.
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Welcome to Beantown
After being fired in San Diego (with a 114-190 record), Zimmer was hired as the third-base coach in Boston in 1974. He worked under Darrell Johnson for 2½ seasons before taking over when Johnson was let go in July of 1976.
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Zimmer, also known as 'Popeye,' chats with retired Red Sox legend Ted Williams (left) before a game. Zimmer was loved by many. Here's some Twitter reaction after his death on Wednesday.
Winning in Boston
Zimmer didn't mind a good argument, sharing a few choice words here with umpire Terry Cooney. Zimmer's Sox teams carried that same demeanor, battling on the field and winning more than 90 games in each of his three full seasons, the first time Boston did so since WW I.
Bucky 'F***in' Dent
Under Zimmer, the Red Sox went 411-304 from 1976-'80, including a 99-64 campaign in 1978 ... but that was the year of the famous Bucky Dent homer in a one-game playoff loss to the rival New York Yankees.
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Welcome to the Windy City
Zimmer was done in Boston after 1980 and managed the Texas Rangers in 1981 & '82, going 95-106. Fired by the Rangers, Zimmer was a coach with the Yankees before heading to the North Side of Chicago to coach third base from 1984-86.
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Back in the skipper's seat
When the Cubs fired Jim Frey after the '86 season, Zimmer went back to the Yankees and was a coach on the San Francisco Giants staff in '87. But he was hired to manage the Cubs in 1988, which was followed by a magical season — division title and NL Manager of the Year award — at the Friendly Confines.
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(Left to right) Managers Jim Leyland of the Pirates, Zimmer of the Cubs, Tony LaRussa of the Athletics and Roger Craig of the Giants watch BP prior to the1990 All-Star Game at Wrigley Field. Zimmer, who led the Cubs to the NL East title in '89, closed his managing career after 37 games in 1991. His Cubs teams went 265-258 with a division crown.
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Off to the Bronx
When Zimmer left the Cubs, he closed his managerial career with an 885-858 mark. He joined Joe Torre's (right) staff as a bench coach for the New York Yankees in 1996. Add in Zimmer's 21-15 mark when filling in for Torre, who was recuperating from prostate cancer, and Popeye's record was 906-873.
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The Evil Empire
To think Zimmer once coached and managed Boston, but here he was with the Yankees and Reggie Jackson (right) on the other side of one of the most-heated rivalry in sports. Who can forget the 2003 ALCS, when Zimmer charged Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez, only to get thrown to the ground.
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It's good to be the champs
Visiting the White House with Joe Torre (center) was a common theme for Zimmer and the Yankees — the above trip was in 2001 when President George W. Bush (right) was in office. New York won four World Series (1996, '98, '98, & '00) while Zimmer was Torre's right-hand man.
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Zimmer became a Tampa Bay Rays senior adviser in January of 2004. 'Zim was a great man, and there's no words to explain what he brought to us and what he meant to me,' Rays third baseman Evan Longoria told The Associated Press on the day Zimmer died.
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'Today we all lost a national treasure and a wonderful man,' Tampa Bay principal owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement after Zimmer's death on June 4, 2014.
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Zimmer was more than special
Zimmer waves to the crowd during the Yankees' 63rd Old Timers Day on July 19, 2009. 'Zim was around when I first came up,' Derek Jeter told the AP on the day of Zimmer's death. 'He was someone that taught me a lot about the game — he's been around, he's pretty much seen everything. His stories, his experiences.'