Don Zimmer, Who Spent 60 Eventful Years in Baseball, Dies at 83,
Zimmer’s bulging arm muscles on his 5-foot-9-inch frame (he was about 170 pounds in his playing years) brought him the enduring nickname Popeye when he played for the Dodger teams known as the Boys of Summer. His puffy face seemed like something out of a baseball trading card from the days when dugouts were awash in the juice from chewing tobacco.
The Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee likened Zimmer to a gerbil for his bulging cheeks. Zimmer did not care much for that description, but he never took himself too seriously. The night after he was struck in the face by a ball fouled into the Yankees’ dugout by Chuck Knoblauch during a 1999 playoff game, he wore an Army helmet. He allowed Derek Jeter to rub his head and his stomach for good luck before he came to the plate. …
“All I’ve ever been is a simple baseball man, but it’s never ceased to amaze me how so many far more accomplished people I’ve met in this life wanted to be one, too,” he said in “The Zen of Zim,” (2004) written with Bill Madden. “What a game, this baseball!”