Don Zimmer’s wife chronicled every moment of her husband’s career

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We think of ballplayers and managers as famous people who are in the news all the time. And they are. But being “in the news” meant something very different until, oh, about 20 years ago. Now a baseball player’s name may show up in 3,258 Google News results a week. Before that, however, they’d be printed in the local paper once, maybe twice a day. If you played in a town with a couple of papers, your name could appear in maybe a half dozen articles a week.

Most of Don Zimmer’s 66 years in baseball happened in that latter era. And for many of them — when he was a player and then, after his managing career, when he just coached — he was never the center of the media universe. Really, the only time he got tons of ink, relatively speaking, were the thirteen years he was a manager, particularly the five years he was in Boston.

But his wife, Soot Zimmer kept track. Meticulously. She has scrapbooks of every clipping in which Don Zimmer ever appeared, and has kept it up since his death. Today the Tampa Bay Times has a story about her and her scrapbooking, and how the Rays’ recent efforts to honor Zimmer has kept her in the scrapbooking business even when she figured it was over with.

I like this story because it reminds us that, while we think of them as public figures, ballplayers are everyday people too, and have personal lives and personal connections that we very rarely think about. I think most of the bad discourse in sports comes as a result of us forgetting this basic humanity of people. Even and maybe especially those who are famous.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

Justin Verlander
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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”

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