September 21, 1934|
|Died: September 9, 1998
|April 14, 1961, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 22, 1968, for the Minnesota Twins|
|Runs batted in||72|
|Career highlights and awards|
Gerald Robert Zimmerman (September 21, 1934 – September 9, 1998) was an American professional baseball player and coach. He played all or part of eight seasons in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds and the Minnesota Twins from 1961 to 1968, primarily as a catcher. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, he attended Milwaukie High School in Oregon.
Zimmerman began his professional baseball career when he was signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1952. He had played for the Minneapolis Millers, Boston's Triple-A farm club, where his manager was Gene Mauch. After spending seven years in the minor leagues, he was released by the Red Sox on July 16, 1959 and was picked up by the Baltimore Orioles on the same day. Two months later, on September 25, the Orioles released him, and he was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds, then known as the Redlegs.
Zimmerman finally got his big break during the 1961 season, when the Reds traded away catcher Ed Bailey and Zimmerman was called up to the majors. He was the Reds' starting catcher during their pennant-winning season of 1961, and although he only had a batting average of .206, he still led the team's catchers, with Johnny Edwards hitting .186 and Bob Schmidt hitting .129. In the 1961 World Series, Zimmerman appeared in two games as a late-inning defensive substitution and had no at bats, as the Reds lost to the New York Yankees, four games to one.
After the 1961 season, Zimmerman was traded on January 30, 1962 to the Minnesota Twins for Dan Dobbek. He played for the Twins for seven seasons, serving mostly as a backup for Earl Battey. When the Twins won the 1965 American League pennant, Zimmerman was one of the few players on the team with previous World Series experience. The Twins would lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1965 World Series. In 1967, Zimmerman played in 104 games as Battey was troubled by health issues. The Twins were in first place with two games left in the 1967 season, but lost their final two games to the Boston Red Sox and finished the season in second place. Although he was still an active player, Zimmerman became the Twins' unofficial bullpen coach in 1967, as the Twins only had three coaches during that time. After Battey's release in the off-season, the Twins traded for catcher John Roseboro, and Zimmerman went back to being a reserve player during the 1968 season. He was released by the Twins on March 18, 1969.
In an eight-year major league career, Zimmerman played in 483 games, accumulating 203 hits in 994 at bats for a .204 career batting average along with 3 home runs and 72 runs batted in. Although he was a light-hitting player, Zimmerman was a good defensive catcher, leading the American League in 1965 with a .997 fielding percentage and had a career fielding percentage of .991.
Zimmerman rejoined Mauch as bullpen coach for the expansion team Montreal Expos from 1969 to 1975, then was bullpen coach for the Twins (under Mauch) from 1976 to 1980. Zimmerman also umpired a game on August 25, 1978 in Toronto during an umpires' strike. Zimmerman and Don Leppert are the last two active coaches to umpire a Major League game. He then scouted for the Yankees and Orioles during the 1980s.
Zimmerman died in Neskowin, Oregon, and his remains were cremated.
- "Jerry Zimmerman – The Baseball Cube". Retrieved 2009-02-09.
- "Jerry Zimmerman Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com". Retrieved 2007-04-14.
- "Cool of the Evening: Jerry Zimmerman". Retrieved 2007-04-14.
- 1958 Minneapolis Millers at Baseball Reference
- "1961 Cincinnati Reds Statistics and Roster". Retrieved 2007-04-18.
- 1961 World Series at Baseball Reference
- 1965 World Series at Baseball Reference
- 1967 American League season at Baseball Reference
- 1965 American League Fielding Leaders at Baseball Reference
- "Jerry Zimmerman, BaseballLibrary.com". Retrieved 2009-02-09.