On Sunday, the Washington Nationals hosted the Boston Red Sox in the finale of the Major League Baseball regular season. In the eighth inning, the Nationals substituted in Andrew Stevenson for Ryan Zimmerman, who exited the field for perhaps the final time in his long and illustrious baseball career. Zimmerman has not yet officially announced his retirement, but that decision is expected to come from him sometime this offseason.
After 16 seasons in the MLB, each of which spent with the Washington Nationals, Zimmerman received quite the standing ovation from the crowd of nearly 34,000 at Nationals Park on Sunday afternoon.
He also received an ovation before his first at bat.
Zimmerman, often referred to as “Mr. National”, has been with the franchise (previously known as the Montreal Expos) since it was relocated to Washington D.C. in 2005.
Before his decorated professional career began, Zimmerman was simply the best player to ever suit up for the Virginia Cavaliers baseball program. Zimmerman, who played high school baseball in Virginia Beach, committed to UVA, where he was a star third baseman from 2003 to 2005. Named to the All-ACC First Team in 2004 and the All-ACC Second Team in 2005, Zimmerman set a UVA single-season record for hits with 90 in 2004 and then broke that record again with 92 hits in 2005. Phil Gosselin now holds that record with 100 hits in the 2010 season and Zimmerman’s record is third-best all-time. Zimmerman is also fifth in the UVA record books in career batting average with .355 and eighth in career hits with 250. In 2018, Zimmerman was inducted into the Virginia Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Washington Nationals selected Zimmerman with the fourth overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft, making him the highest drafted Cavalier ever at the time (Danny Hultzen was taken second overall by the Mariners in 2011). Following the draft, Zimmerman expressed excitement about the opportunity to play professional baseball near his home. “The Washington Nationals are as close as you can get to my hometown and I’m very excited to be a part of their organization,” Zimmerman said.
16 years later, Zimmerman is likely concluding what has been a fantastic career with the Nationals.
Zimmerman’s great career included two spectacular seasons in 2009 and 2017, both of which earned him MLB All-Star honors, making him the first Cavalier to ever play in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2009, Zimmerman was 4th in the National League in runs scored (110), sixth in RBIs (106), and tenth in hits (178). Zimmerman also won the Rawlings NL Gold Glove in 2009 as well as the NL Silver Slugger in 2009 and 2010. In 2017, Zimmerman was sixth in the NL in home runs (36), sixth in RBIs (208), and was named the MLB Players Choice NL Comeback Player of the Year.
In just one example of his excellence both as a player and as a person, Zimmerman was presented with the 2011 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, given to “the Major League baseball player who both on and off the field best exemplifies the character of Lou Gehrig.”
In 2019, Zimmerman played a pivotal role in a postseason run which ended with the Nationals winning their first ever World Series Championship. Zimmerman batted .255 in the playoffs and drove in seven runs, including two home runs. In his first career World Series at bat in Game 1 on October 22nd, 2019, Zimmerman hit the first World Series home run in the history of the franchise.
The Nationals took down the Houston Astros in seven games to win the title.
Zimmerman is a career .277 hitter with 1,846 hits, 284 home runs, and 1,061 RBIs. He sits atop the Washington Nationals franchise leaderboard in total games played, home runs, runs scored, hits, RBIs, and total bases.
If this is really the end of the road for Ryan Zimmerman, then what a career it was for No. 11.
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