Jeter: This Moment Exemplifies Don Zimmer [VIDEO]
It happened at Fenway Park in 2003 during Game 3 of the ALCS. A brawl broke out and then 72 year old Don Zimmer charged Pedro Martinez, who tossed him by his head to the ground. I remember a debate over the incident with Martinez taking some heat for it. Looking back on the incident, Derek Jeter says it exemplifies Don Zimmer’s spirit.
“He was a fighter, you know,” an emotional Jeter said, hours after he learned of Zimmer’s death Wednesday night. “He’s intense. I think that exemplifies how he was. He was in every game, and he was fun to be around.”
Don Zimmer was 83.
Jeter was a rookie in 1996, the same year Zimmer joined the Yankees as a bench coach. They worked together until 2003. Derek Jeter lauded Don Zimmer, saying he taught him so much about the game, and adding he would remember Zimmer’s “stories, his experiences. He was good to my family. He was close to my family.”
An emotional year for Jeter just got even more emotional.
Zimmer’s career started as a Dodger in Brooklyn, surviving two near-fatal beanings (interesting considering the cause of the brawl in the Pedro Martinez incident), and went on to be an original ’62 Met, a Washington Senator, manager of both the Red Sox and Cubs, and then Joe Torre’s bench coach for four Yankee world championship teams.
Zimmer died last evening at BayCare Alliant Hospital in Dunedin, Florida. He had been there for the past few weeks after undergoing heart-valve surgery and then being diagnosed with fibrosis on his lungs. He had also been having dialysis treatments for the last couple of years.