1962 TOPPS DON ZIMMER
A moment if you will for one of our own…
Don Zimmer led a long and varied baseball life, stretching from Brooklyn to Boston to the Bronx to Tampa Bay.
His rotund face was a global map of all the far corners of baseball geography, a record of his time with the likes of the Toei Flyers and the Tigres de Marianao, Cuba.
But our narrow focus today will be on the 20 games that he spent with the 1962 Mets.
Zimmer was there at the inception, manning the hot corner on the very first day in Mets regular-season history.
On April 11, 1962 he came to the plate in the top of the second inning with the Mets trailing 2-0, and lined a single to center off Cardinals starter Larry Jackson. He stood on first base in the blue and orange of this brand-new franchise, proud owner of a 1.000 average for the year.
Of course, things went a bit downhill from there– by May 6 Zimmer had managed only three more hits in 54 plate appearances, and the team’s record stood at 4-16. The Mets mercy-traded him to Cincinnati for Cliff Cook and Bob G. Miller, and the Reds went on to win 98 games that year, which I’m sure suited Zimmer better than losing 120.
Topps updated the team designation on his 1962 card to reflect this trade, but retained the original picture of Zimmer in his Mets uniform, thus creating a quandary for generations of OCD Mets collectors to come.
Today we will consider him selfishly as a member of the Mets family, but know in our hearts that he belongs to baseball…
Rest in peace, Don Zimmer.