Here is the latest addition to my autograph collection:
It's from Topps Chrome 2004 and features Popeye Don Zimmer, who managed the Cubs from 1988 - 1991. The highlight of his time with the Cubs was in 1989, when the Boys of Zimmer came out of nowhere and won the NL East.
Zimmer had three different go-arounds with the Cubs. His first was as a player, from 1960-1961.
I love the look of this card--the home pinstripes with Wrigley in the background, the bulge in Zim's cheek--it a beauty. Over two season, Zimmer hit .254 with 19 HR and 75 RBIs over 260 games. He made the All Star team in 1961, his lone appearance as an All Star. After the 1961 season, Zimmer was left unprotected and was taken by the Mets in the expansion draft.
Twenty-three years later, Zimmer returned to the Cubs as a third base coach for his childhood friend and Cubs manager Jim Frey. Zim was noted for taken some chances and sending runners when most coaches would have held them. When Frey was fired by GM Dallas Green during the 1986 season, his pal Zimmer was canned too.
In an interesting turn of fate, when Dallas Green was fired as GM after the 1987 season, he was replaced by Jim Frey. In one of his first duties, Frey hired his old friend Don Zimmer as manager. Zim continued his gambling ways as manager and in 1989 it seemed like every move he made worked. The division crown he won with the Cubs was the only time he won a title during his 13 seasons as a big league manager.
As lucky as he was in 1989, he was unlucky the next season and in mid-season 1991, Frey fired Zimmer.