Ryan Wallace Zimmerman (born September 28, 1984 in Washington, North Carolina) was the first first-round draft pick of the Washington Nationals. A 6-foot 3-inch third baseman from the University of Virginia and Floyd E. Kellam High School, Zimmerman has quickly established himself as a quality major-league third baseman—with potential to blossom into one of the game's true stars—with his defensive abilities and contact hitting.
Zimmerman's mother Cheryl was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995, and has been in a wheelchair since 2000. Zimmerman has cited his mother's condition as a substantial formative influence on his development, saying that it forced him to grow up and assume responsibilities at an earlier age than most children. He also founded the ziMS Foundation.
A three-year starter third baseman for the Virginia Cavaliers baseball team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Ryan Zimmerman started in all 174 games he appeared in, and his collegiate career statistics include 250 hits, 140 RBI, 128 runs, 47 doubles, seven triples and nine home runs. He was successful on 32 of 39 stolen base attempts. His career totals are among the top ten in Virginia statistical categories for doubles (5th), hits (6th) and RBI (7th). Ryan established the school record of hits in a season with 90 in 2004, breaking his own record with 92 in 2005.
In his final collegiate season, Ryan led the Cavaliers with a .393 average, .581 slugging percentage, 136 total bases, 92 hits, 59 RBI, and 51 runs. He coupled his high batting average with striking out just 14 times in the full season.
Zimmerman’s collegiate awards and honors include 2005 All-American by Baseball America, 2005 All-American by National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, 2005 All-ACC selection, 2005 ACC All-Tournament Team and 2005 Virginia College Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Player of the Year. He was also a 2004 First Team All-ACC selection, 2004 VaSID All-State Team selection and named to the 2004 Charlottesville NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team.
Ryan Zimmerman started at third base for the 2004 USA Baseball National Team that won the gold medal in the FISU II World University Baseball Championships. Zimmerman’s summer with Team USA included starting 18 of 24 games and leading the team in batting average (.468), hits (36), RBI (27), runs (25), doubles (12), home runs (4), slugging percentage (.805) and total bases (62). He also posted a .933 fielding percentage and won the team Triple Crown. In his sophomore year in College he batted over .400 in the 9th inning with 2 runners on base.
Zimmerman’s .468 batting average set a National Team single-season record and was a factor in his earning the FISU II World University Games tournament MVP.
His performance with Team USA led to Ryan Zimmerman being named the 2004 "Dick Case" Athlete of the Year by USA Baseball.
Drafted in the first round as the fourth overall pick by the Washington Nationals in the 2005 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft. After being signed on the day he was drafted, he was sent to the Savannah Sand Gnats - the Nationals minor league A affiliate and then quickly moved up to the Harrisburg Senators - the Nationals' AA minor league baseball affiliate.
Zimmerman was called up to the majors when rosters expanded in September 2005, and shared third base duties with Vinny Castilla, taking over the position on a more permanent basis between the time the Nationals were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention and the end of the season. Over the course of 20 games, he posted a .397 batting average, 10 doubles, and 6 RBIs in 58 at bats. He was the only member of the 2005 team to hit over .300 in at least 50 at bats.
2006 Season (Rookie) Edit
He remained with the Major League club to start the 2006 campaign, taking over third base duties from the traded Castilla. Prior to 2006 Spring Training, Zimmerman changed his jersey number from #25 (2005) to #11, his former college number.
On April 5, 2006, he hit his first Major League home run off a 93-mph fastball in the ninth inning against Mets' closer Billy Wagner. It sailed into the second deck in Shea Stadium, tied the game in the top of the ninth, and allowed the Nationals to go on to win their first game of the 2006 season by a score of 9-5 in extra innings.
On June 18, 2006, Father's Day, (and with his father in the stands), he hit his tenth Major League home run and his first walk-off home run when he hit a 2-run shot in the bottom of the ninth to beat the New York Yankees 3-2. The usually stoic Zimmerman gleefully tossed his batting helmet in the air while rounding third and leaped onto home plate as his teammates crowded around him. He later took a curtain call and tossed his batting gloves into the stands. On July 4, 2006, he hit a 3-run home run against Florida closer Joe Borowski on a two-strike pitch with two outs in the 9th inning of a game Washington was losing 4-3; the walk-off home run carried Washington to a 6-4 victory. This was Zimmerman's 12th career home run and his second walk-off. Two days later he delivered a walk-off single against the Marlins to win the game 8-7 in the 11th inning.
On September 27, 2006, against the Philadelphia Phillies, Zimmerman hit his 20th home run of the season and tied the Expos/Nationals franchise record for home runs by a rookie; in 2002, Brad Wilkerson hit 20 home runs for the Montreal Expos.
During his first season as the Nationals' third baseman, Zimmerman became a hometown hero and a fan favorite through his defense and ability to come through in late-inning situations. Frank Robinson once compared Zimmerman's defense to that of Brooks Robinson, a former teammate of Frank Robinson's. During the 2006 spring training, Frank Robinson said that he thought 12 homers and 60 RBIs would be a realistic goal for his rookie infielder; Zimmerman exceeded those expectations and finished with 20 home runs and 110 RBIs. Along with those two figures, he finished the 2006 season with 156 games played, 612 at-bats, .288 batting average, .352 OBP, 84 runs scored, 176 hits, 47 doubles, 3 triples, and 11 steals. He led all Major Leaguers with 10 or more bunts in bunt hit percentage, at 83.3% with 10 bunt hits. Although he was named on more ballots (29-27), Zimmerman finished second in the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year voting to Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the closest Rookie Of the Year vote ever.
2007 Season Edit
On June 22, 2007, Zimmerman fielded a routine ground ball that ended up in his jersey. As he bent over to underhand the ball at his stomach level, his jersey top opened and hung down in front of his glove, causing the ball to go into his jersey instead of his positioned glove.
On July 4, 2007, Zimmerman hit a two-out go-ahead home run in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs. The one-run home run would have been considered routine had it not continued a trend that led to Zimmerman being declared a "human fireworks" show by an ESPN.com article. The Independence Day home run marked Zimmerman's fifth game-ending or go-ahead home run on a holiday. Zimmerman hit home runs on Father's Day in 2006 and 2007, Independence Day in 2006 and 2007, and Mother's Day in 2007. Per ESPN.com, Zimmerman was quoted as saying, "I wish every day was a holiday."
On August 3, 2007, Zimmerman delivered his sixth walk-off game-winner in his first two seasons with a single to left, giving the Nationals a 3-2 win over the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. With another walk-off in September, Zimmerman produced seven walk-offs with three via home run, three via singles, and one via bases-loaded walk, in less than two seasons. Manager Manny Acta stated, "He has done some dramatic stuff since he's been up here…he doesn't get rattled when that situation comes up, and I think that's what he has shown here the last two years." Subsequent to the game, Zimmerman was presented the 2006 Larry Doby Legacy Award for his achievements during his rookie season..
On August 4, 2007, Zimmerman had his first career multi-homer day, hitting a solo shot in the fourth and a two-run homer in the sixth in a 12-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. In the next game against the Cardinals, Zimmerman hit a single to bring Nook Logan in at home, giving them a one-run advantage over the Cardinals; the Nationals won the game
2008 Season Edit
On March 30, the Washington Nationals played the Atlanta Braves in the first major league baseball game in the new Nationals Park. In that game, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan hit a walk-off home run off of the Braves' Peter Moylan, giving the Nationals a 3-2 win.. It was the first Nationals homer in the history of their new ballpark. He now currently has 2 homers in April. He was placed on the disabled list on June 3, 2008 with a small labral tear in his left shoulder.
2009 Season Edit
Ryan Zimmerman had a 30-game hitting streak, which was stopped on May 13, 2009 by the Giants. It was the longest streak by a 3rd baseman since George Brett of the Kansas City Royals had a 30-game streak in 1980, and the longest by an NL 3rd baseman since Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds tied the NL record (and set modern NL record) with 44 consecutive games in 1978, It was the longest streak ever by a member of the Expos/Nationals franchise. It is the longest major league streak in 2009 so far.
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- ↑ Svrluga, Barry. "Calmly Fielding Anything Life Throws at Him", The Washington Post, Washington Post Company, 2006-01-18, p. E01. Retrieved on 2008-02-22.
- ↑ ziMS Foundation founded by Ryan Zimmerman
- ↑ Bock, Hal (2006-08-17). David Wright - Mets third baseman recalls AAU days with B.J. Upton. AAU News. Retrieved on 2008-02-22.
- ↑ Baseball Leaderboard. Fan Graphs. STATS LLC (2007). Retrieved on 2008-02-22.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Stark, Jayson (2007-07-07). Injuries, box score lines ... and funny quotes. ESPN Major League Baseball. ESPN. Retrieved on 2008-02-22.
- ↑ Zuckerman, Mark. "Zimmerman decks Cards", The Washington Times, The Washington Times, LLC, 2007-08-04. Retrieved on 2008-02-22.
- ↑ Phillips, Michael. "Cards, Nationals honor Negro Leagues", Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, L.P., 2007-08-03. Retrieved on 2008-02-22.
- ↑ Ladson, Bill (2008-03-31). Opening Might: Zim's walk-off wins it; Homer in ninth erases blown save, pushes Nats past Braves. mlb.com. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
- ↑ Dmitri Young Bobblehead Night - D.C. Sports Bog
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