Young Ballplayer, Respected Coach

Yogiandzimm                                                                                                    Photo from SI Photo Gallery

This photo caught my eye because I didn’t recognize the Dodger infielder throwing out Yogi Berra at 1st. The photo caption reads:1955-Don Zimmer throws out Yogi Berra during game 3 of the World Series. No matter how much I try, I just don’t see the chubby-cheeked 66 year old Yankee bench coach from the 1996 World Series. Zimmer was just 24 years old, appearing in his 2nd year with the Dodgers, when he helped Brooklyn win their 1st World Championship. The Dodgers won game #7 on a complete game shutout from Johnny Podres. 

Now being the thorough baseball researcher that I am, I checked Baseball Reference to see how well Zimmer did in the World Series. (He played in 4 games, going 2-9.) But I noticed that game 3 was played at Ebbetts field, and this game is obviously being played at Yankee Stadium. After numerous seconds of research on Baseball Reference(Have I ever mentioned before how great this site is?) I was able to determine that this was the 1st out recorded in the bottom of the 2nd in game #1 of the Series. I actually feel pretty good about myself for finding a factual  error regarding this photo. I also feel pretty good for Don Zimmer. He was once a young ballplayer on a Championship team, and he was also a wizened bench coach sitting next to Joe Torre, for 4 other Championships. What more could you ask for?

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5 Responses to Young Ballplayer, Respected Coach

  1. Good eye! Young Zim was a scrappy infielder with strong forearms that earned him the nickname “Popeye” from Roy Campanella. Quite a different physique than his later years! For more great photos of young Zim, check out my website dedicated to him.

  2. Kevin Graham says:

    Thanks Brad. A website devoted to Don Zimmer? I’ll have to check it out.

  3. verdun2 says:

    Zimmer also played on the 1959 Dodgers World Series winner. His hitting was so weak that they were forced to bring up a rookie named Maury Wills to replace him. Zimmer was also around for the start of the 1963 championship season, but was traded to Washington (now Texas) during the season. Add those to the Yankees and he seems to have been a member of a lot of championship teams. Good timing or good baseball knowledge. Either way he’s something of a national baseball treasure. Good job, Kevin, on your research.

  4. ballcaps says:

    Cool bit on Zim. Curiously, I unexpectedly looked him up yesterday after reading a splendid piece by Bob Ojeda in the New York Times in which he details his arm troubles over the years. There’s a mention about midway through the piece about how he got sent back to the minors during the 1980 season with the Red Sox. The clubhouse manager told him about his flight arrangements, which was how Ojeda got the news. The manager hadn’t bothered to tell Ojeda of his demotion.
    The manager? Don Zimmer.
    That’s about the only negative I’ve heard about Zimmer. Here’s the link to the Times story. I can’t seem to figure out how to code it, so you may have to cut and paste:

    • Kevin Graham says:

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the heads up on the article. I’ll be sure to check it out.


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