Joe Torre, Tommy Lasorda and Jim Leyland were among the many friends and family members at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Saturday to celebrate the life of longtime baseball man Don Zimmer.
The tribute was held before the Tampa Bay Rays played the Mariners. Zimmer, a senior adviser for the Rays, died Wednesday at 83 in a hospital in nearby Dunedin.
Both teams wore Zimmer’s No. 23 Brooklyn Dodgers jersey as they lined up along the foul lines. Fans stood and cheered at the end of a video tribute. There is no funeral or other memorial service planned.
More than 20 family members, including Zimmer’s wife “Soot” – they were married at home plate during a minor league game in 1951 – also attended.
“A great life,” Soot Zimmer said. “No regrets.”
Son Tom Zimmer caught the ceremonial first pitch thrown by granddaughter Whitney Goldstein.
Torre said Zimmer was “one of a kind” and “an institution.”
Zimmer was Torre’s bench coach for four World Series championships with the Yankees.
“I just hope that people remember what a great baseball man this guy was,” Leyland said. “He was a character, but he wasn’t somebody that you laughed at when you understood how much this guy knew about baseball. His passion for the game and his passion for people.”
The ceremony ended with “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” played on a bagpipe.
“Perfect,” Tom Zimmer said. “Emotional.”
Philadelphia rookie manager Ryne Sandberg earned his first career ejection after arguing the replay confirmation of a play at the plate that kept the Phillies from adding a run in their game against Cincinnati.
When the replay confirmed the call, Sandberg, a former North Central star, came out of the dugout to argue, which is automatic grounds for ejection.
Clearing the bases
Kendrys Morales, the Cuban 1B/DH who slugged 23 home runs last season for the Mariners, agreed to a contract with the Twins for the remainder of the season, a team source confirmed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. … Tigers C Alex Avila was out of the lineup for Detroit’s game against Boston, but the team said he’s progressing well after being hit in the head by the follow-through of David Ortiz’s swing on Friday. … Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig and 2B Dee Gordon both left the game at Colorado with injuries. Gordon was removed because of right hip discomfort. Puig strained his right hip flexor as he slid into the second base to try and break up a double play. Both are day-to-day. … The Padres selected Browns QB Johnny Manziel in the 28th round, 837th overall, of the draft. Manziel was listed as a shortstop for Texas A&M, although he never played for the Aggies as he focused on football. … The Yankees selected Mariano Rivera III, the son of the record-breaking closer, in the 29th round, 872nd overall, of the draft. … All-time hits king Pete Rose, 73, will manage the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League for one game on June 16.