Love, Self

Married At Home Plate: The Love Story Of Baseball's Don Zimmer

Don Zimmer and his wife, Soot

I don't pretend to know much about baseball. And I know even less about legendary managers. I attended a couple of Red Sox games at Fenway with my Dad growing up, but that amounted to the most of my experience with America's favorite pasttime.

But I was a little heartbroken to hear that Don Zimmer or "Popeye" passed away today. If you follow sports at all, you'll know what a big deal he was for professional baseball. Over his 66-year career, he played as a minor league infielder before he went on to manage and coach over 10 major league teams, leading a handful of them to victory in the World Series. In short, he was a beloved baseball icon.

But baseball wasn't his only love.

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In 1951, he married Carol Jean Bauerle (whom he affectionately called "Soot"). She was the girl he been dating since the 10th grade. (Cue the, "awws.") They exchanged "I do's" at home plate during a minor league game in New York. And as for their less-than-conventional wedding theme? "I'd do it again," she said.

Up until his death, they were happily married, living in Seminole, Florida.

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A reporter once asked him what he'd do without baseball and he couldn't help but laugh about his marriage: ''I don't think my wife (Soot) could stand me if I was home all day long,'' he chuckled. "I don't know how to pound a nail into a piece of wood or fix a toilet. Someone asked me how I stayed married for 60 years. I'm gone half the time.''

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He leaves behind two grown children and four grandkids. I hope he's found a little sense of peace on a baseball mound somewhere in the afterlife, until he can be reunited with his Soot again.