Monday, March 22, 2010

Final Card: Jerry Zimmerman

This is the final card for Jerry Zimmerman (#181) the Twins' backup catcher for most of the 1960s.

Jerry was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1952. After 7 1/2 seasons in their minor-league system, the Red Sox released Zimmerman on July 16, 1959. On the same day, he was picked up by the Orioles, who assigned him to their triple-A team, where he played until being released on September 25th (presumably after the end of the minor-league season). Not to worry! For the 2nd time in 1959, Jerry was picked up by another team on the same day he was cut (this time by the Cincinnati Reds).

Zimmerman got a fresh start with the Reds. After spending one season (1960) with the Cincy's triple-A team, he made his major-league debut on April 14, 1961. He ended up being the Reds' #1 catcher as a rookie, starting more games behind the plate (64) than the #2 and #3 guys combined (Johnny Edwards & Bob Schmidt).

What happened after that? The Reds must have liked what they saw of Edwards, because in 1962 he began a string of 6 years as the Reds' #1 catcher (until being replaced by Johnny Bench in September 1967). Zimmerman was shipped off to the Twins in January 1962 for outfielder Dan Dobbek, who had all of 200 major-league games under his belt, but would never play in the majors again.

Jerry played for the Twins for the remainder of his career. From 1962-66 he was 2nd-string behind Earl Battey. In 1967, he was the #1 catcher, as the aging Battey faded drastically in his final season. Oddly enough, in 1968 Jerry dropped to #3 behind the newly-acquired John Roseboro and rookie Bruce Look.

Zimmerman was released in March 1969. (None of the 4 expansion teams needed a veteran catcher?)

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