Paul O'Neill 21: Rest in Peace, Don Zimmer

JUNE, 2014

Of all the iconic moments with Don Zimmer, a man who worked in professional baseball in almost every capacity for sixty years, two moments stand out in my memory. Once, swamped by a slump, I was seething on the Yankee bench, thinking everything was against me. Zimmer simply said, jokingly, but not jokingly, "Paul, if things are so bad, I have a brother-in-law in the concrete business in Cincinnati. He'll hire you." Having grown up in the perils of my own father’s construction business, I soon got over it, became more grateful and started hitting.

Another memory is of me and my brother, Robert, sitting in Fenway Park’s locker room, killing time. We needed a fourth to play cards. Zim liked to play bridge and was very good at it. He dawdled over in his shower shoes, white t-shirt and some crazy looking shorts. He was his own fashion statement. He sat there and beat us at bridge, all the time moving from one story to the next, decades running together. He was never troubled by when it happened, just that it was important enough to remember over all those years he lived.

Don, my condolences to your family. You were an Ohio native like me and will always be remembered by me and my family.

-Paul O’Neill

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