Don Zimmer's little discussed legacy

Hulton Archive

When a man spends 66 years in baseball, everyone will have a story. Here's mine.

There used to be such a thing as "colorful" characters in baseball. Men who added something to the game that couldn't be measured sabermetrically, or with any other metric. Typically, I have little use for such judgments as I feel they often attempt to measure something that by definition is unmeasurable, and there's a built-in contradiction from the get-go.

Don Zimmer was one of those guys -- not a particularly gifted player or manager, but still an historic one. He compiled over 3500 plate appearances in the major leagues. Not mentioned among the most brilliant managerial tacticians, he also managed four teams and over 1700 games.

Here's my addition to the oeuvre of Don Zimmer stories -- the number of times he was ejected as a player, manager or coach:

Date Team Umpire Reason Role
7/11/1957 Brooklyn Augie Donatelli Call at 1B Player
7/11/1958 LA Dodgers Augie Donatelli Bench jockeying Player
7/25/1959 LA Dodgers Dusty Boggess Called third strike Player
6/9/1960 Chicago Cubs Ken Burkhart Call at 3B Player
6/21/1960 Chicago Cubs Ed Vargo Fan interference call Player
8/7/1962 Cincinnati Frank Secory Balk non-call Player
6/7/1972 San Diego Interference call Manager
7/4/1972 San Diego Lee Weyer Balls and strikes Manager
9/18/1972 San Diego Bill Williams Balls and strikes Manager
7/2/1974 Boston Bill Deegan Balls and strikes Coach
7/6/1975 Boston Bill Haller Fair/foul call Coach
6/24/1976 Boston Larry Barnett Balls and strikes Coach
5/3/1977 Boston Art Frantz Catcher's interference Manager
6/2/1977 Boston Larry Barnett Balls and strikes Manager
5/21/1978 Boston Nick Bremigan Called third strike Manager
4/14/1980 Boston Marty Springstead Balls and strikes Manager
8/2/1980 Boston John Shulock Call at 1B Manager
8/11/1980 Boston Larry McCoy Checked swing Manager
9/2/1980 Boston Fred Spenn Balls and strikes Manager
4/30/1981 Texas Vic Voltaggio HBP call Manager
4/23/1982 Texas Vic Voltaggio Call at 1B Manager
8/16/1983 NY Yankees Tim Welke Demanding balk call Coach
4/17/1985 Chicago Cubs Joe West Call at 3B; claimed West threw him to ground Coach
6/11/1988 Chicago Cubs Greg Bonin Interference non-call Manager
6/15/1988 Chicago Cubs Joe West Bench jockeying Manager
5/9/1989 Chicago Cubs Jim Quick Interference call Manager
5/19/1989 Chicago Cubs Bob Engel Reversal of call Manager
8/17/1989 Chicago Cubs Jerry Crawford Bench jockeying (Threw hands up) Manager
5/28/1990 Chicago Cubs Joe West Fair/foul call Manager
7/8/1990 Chicago Cubs Jim Quick Checked swing Manager
6/25/1996 NY Yankees Ted Hendry Catch/trap call Coach
5/9/1997 NY Yankees Mike Reilly Balk non-call Coach
6/15/1997 NY Yankees Greg Bonin Balls and strikes Coach
9/11/1998 NY Yankees Mike Reilly Bench-clearing brawl Coach
6/27/2000 NY Yankees Laz Diaz Call at 1B Coach
5/27/2001 NY Yankees Al Clark Bench jockeying Coach
9/20/2001 NY Yankees Rob Drake Bench jockeying Coach

Clearly, Zimmer was a man of strong opinions and had a willingness to share them with umpires no matter his role. Being tossed 12 times as a coach is something remarkable, the third-highest total of coaching ejections for as long as Retrosheet has data, which goes back to around 1900 (behind Cal Ripken Sr. with 23 and George Myatt with 13).

Oddly enough, last night both Rick Renteria of the Cubs and Robin Ventura of the White Sox were ejected, only the seventh time managers of both Chicago teams were ejected on the same day. With 12 hours of hindsight, I'd like to think both did it as an homage to Zimmer. Thanks for the memories, Don, I'll never forget the pleasant surprise that were the 1989 Cubs.

Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottLindholm

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