Don Zimmer, the original third baseman of the Mets and a baseball lifer, has passed away today at the age of 83. Zimmer's son Tom said that he passed peacefully and had been hospitalized since April 16th when he underwent heart surgery.
Zimmer spent his entire professional life in baseball, spanning 66 years right up until his death. Beginning in 1954, he spent parts of 12 seasons playing in the major leagues as an infielder with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, Reds, and Washington Senators before retiring with over 1,000 games played in the big leagues. After his playing career ended, Zimmer embarked on a long career as a manager and coach. Zimmer managed the Padres, Red Sox, Rangers, and Cubs, leading Chicago to a division title in 1989. He also spent time as a coach with the Expos, Padres, Red Sox, Cubs, Giants, Rockies, and Yankees, where he was a part of their four World Series titles as Joe Torre's bench coach. He also picked up two World Series rings as a player with the Dodgers. Most recently, he had served as a senior adviser with the Tampa Bay Rays.
In 1962, the Mets drafted Zimmer in the expansion draft from the Cubs and he was the third baseman for the Mets on their inaugural Opening Day. Zimmer lasted just a month with the Mets, going 4-52 at the plate before they traded him to the Reds in May for pitcher Bob Miller and infielder Cliff Cook.