This weeks addition to the baseball man lounge.
Going up on the walls this coming week is an autograph of Don Zimmer. A great Dodger, Met, Cub, ect... Zim has been around baseball possibly longer than any other player/coach/ambassador.
He started in 1949 in various regional leagues working his way to the majors where he has remained until today.
Every year, Zimmer increments his uniform number by one to match the number of years he has worked in baseball. During the 2010 season he wore #62!
Zimmer's rise to the Major Leagues was amazing considering he nearly died after being hit with a pitch in the temple while with St. Paul in 1953. He was not fully conscious for 13 days, during which holes were drilled in his skull to relieve the pressure of swelling. His vision was blurred, he could neither walk nor talk and his weight plunged from 170 to 124. He was told he was finished at 22. He was beaned again in 1956 when a Cincinnati Reds fastball broke his cheekbone, but he persevered. Because of these beanings, it has been widely reported that he had a surgically implanted steel plate in his head. This rumor is false, although the holes drilled in the surgeries following the 1953 beanball were later filled with four tantalum metal corkscrew-shaped "buttons."
In the major leagues, Zimmer remained with the Los Angeles Dodgers after their move west in 1958, then playing for the Chicago Cubs, the first New York Mets team in 1962, and the Cincinnati Reds; he returned briefly to the Dodgers in 1963, before finishing his career with the Washington Senators.
In 12 seasons, Zimmer played 1095 games. He compiled 773 hits, 91 home runs, 352 RBI, 45 stolen bases and a .235 batting average. He played in the World Series with the Dodgers in 1955 and 1959, and was selected to the National League All-Star team in 1961.
Although he had a low batting average, Zimmer was a fine infielder, willing to fill in at third base, shortstop, and second base.