Baseball lifer, former Red Sox manager Don Zimmer passes away

June 04, 2014 - 5:25 pm

Baseball lifer Don Zimmer, who spent 66 years in the game as a player, manager, coach and adviser, passed away on Wednesday night at the age of 83. The Ohio native began his professional career when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949; he spent 12 years playing for five teams in the big leagues, and another in Japan, before starting a managerial and coaching career. Zimmer had four different big league managing jobs, but his most memorable may have been his stretch with the Red Sox from 1976 through 1980. In that capacity, he presided over Boston's infamous collapse in the American League pennant race with the Yankees in 1978, a year in which the Sox ended up winning 99 games -- tied for their most since World War II -- but lost a one-game playoff at Fenway Park to the Yankees in the 163rd game of the season. He returned to the Red Sox as a coach in 1992, and later had stops with the Rockies (1993-95) and then as a bench coach for Joe Torre with the Yankees from 1996-2003, a role in which he gleaned four World Series rings (and once charged at Pedro Martinez in a 2003 playoff brawl, resulting in the Red Sox ace pushing him to the ground). After resigning from the Yankees following the 2003 season, Zimmer joined the Rays as an adviser, a role in which he served from 2004-14. Rays coach Tom Foley has been honoring Zimmer -- who underwent heart valve surgery earlier this year -- by wearing his No. 66 to honor the duration of his tenure in the game.