Rays to retire uniform No. 66 in honor of Don Zimmer on Opening Day
The Tampa Bay Rays will retire uniform No. 66 in honor of the team's longtime senior advisor Don Zimmer in a pregame ceremony at Tropicana Field on Monday, April 6 when the Rays open the season against the Baltimore Orioles.
"Don Zimmer enriched the lives of everyone in the Rays family, and he played a significant part in the growth of our organization," said Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. "Zim's presence has been a gift to the game of baseball, and his influence will be felt for years to come.
"It has been a true privilege of my stewardship of the Rays to have had Don as such an important part of our organization. It is with great pride that we honor him and the game by retiring his number."
No. 66 was the last uniform number worn by the beloved Zimmer and signified his number of years in professional baseball. He spent 11 years in a Rays uniform (2004-14)-most of any of the 14 major league clubs that employed him as a player, coach or manager.
Zimmer passed away June 4, 2014. He broke into the majors in 1954 as an infielder with the Brooklyn Dodgers and was a teammate of Jackie Robinson for the next three seasons. He went on to play 12 seasons with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds and Washington Senators.
From 1971 until his death, Zimmer either managed, coached or served as an advisor for nine major league clubs. During his 66-year career, his teams advanced to the postseason 19 times-including all four of the Rays appearances (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013)-and won six World Series rings. Prior to joining the Rays, he spent eight seasons as bench coach with the New York Yankees under Manager Joe Torre.
His uniform number will be posted high above the left-center field wall where it will join the Rays two other retired numbers: Wade Boggs' No. 12 (retired in 1999) and Jackie Robinson's No. 42 (retired by all teams in 1997).
Zimmer was in uniform for 55 major league Opening Days and this will be the first Opening Day without him since 1971. His wife, Soot, and son, Tommy, will be among those present for the ceremony.