Don Zimmer, an iconic baseball figure who played for and coached more than a dozen major league teams during a career that spanned 65 years, has died. He was 83.
Zimmer's death was confirmed by his grandson, a reporter for a Tampa Bay television station.
"Today I lost my 'Pops' the greatest grandfather anyone could ever ask for," wrote Beau Zimmer on his Twitter account around 3 p.m. "Don Zimmer lived an amazing baseball life."
Zimmer, who was serving as a senior baseball advisor with the Tampa Bay Rays, started his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949. He claimed six World Series rings during his career, four as a coach and two as a player, and was named National League manager of the year in 1989 after leading the Chicago Cubs to a pennant.
An exact cause of death was not immediately clear. Zimmer had been in a rehabilitation facility recovering from heart surgery since mid-April, according to published reports.
"Like everyone in Major League Baseball, I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend Don Zimmer, one of our game’s most universally beloved figures," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "A memorable contributor to baseball for more than 60 years, Don was the kind of person you could only find in the National Pastime."
Zimmer married Soot, his high school sweetheart, in 1951, and he has lived in Florida ever since, according to a biography on the Rays' website.
He also served as a manager for the San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers.
"I hired him as a coach, and he became like a family member to me. He has certainly been a terrific credit to the game," said Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations who served as manager of the New York Yankees while Zimmer coached there. "The game was his life. And his passing is going to create a void in my life and my wife Ali’s. We loved him. The game of baseball lost a special person tonight. He was a good man."
Zimmer is survived by his wife, his son Thomas, his daughter Donna and four grandchildren, according to the Rays.
A complete obituary will follow at latimes.com/obits.
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