Summer, 2018 Auction - Closes August 11, 2018
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/12/2018

In 1955, Donald William Zimmer was a 24-year-old utility infielder in his second major league season, during which he would bat .239 with 15 home runs and 50 runs batted in in 280 at bats, primarily filling in at middle infield.  In the 1955 World Series, he played in four games, driving in two runs with two hits, and earning the first of six Championship rings he would receive in more than six decades of professional baseball.

The 1955 Dodgers are, of course, one of the most beloved baseball teams of all-time; the team won its first-ever World Championship after years of heartbreak at the hands of the New York Yankees, and consequently played their way into the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.  Even today, books such as Roger Kahn's The Boys Of Summer, Thomas Oliphant's Praying For Gil Hodges, and Maury Allen's Brooklyn Remembered: The 1955 Days of the Dodgers remain favorites among baseball fans, and the team is the subject of innumerable references in popular culture.  The team's subsequent move to Los Angeles broke the collective heart of Brooklyn, and cemented the 1955 team as the single greatest team in Brooklyn baseball history.

Zimmer, of course, carved his own path, lasting more than 65 years in professional baseball, and becoming one of the best-loved ambassadors of the game along the way.  He won a second World Championship as a member of the Los Angeles Dodvers in 1959, and then became a member of the New York Mets in their first season.  He played briefly in Japan, as a member of the Toei Flyers.  He played winter baseball in the Cuban League, and was a member of the 1955 champion Cangrejeros de Santurce club in the Puerto Rican League, winning the MVP of the series despite sharing a clubhouse with the likes of Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.

His managing and coaching career took him further; he was the Red Sox manager during the famous "Bucky Dent Game" in 1978, and was awarded Manager of the Year in 1989 as manager of the Chicago Cubs.  He served as Bench Coach for Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre during the Yankees' run of World Championships, where he earned his final four rings.  He later became a senior advisor and coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, where he incremented his uniform number each year to represent the number of years he'd been in baseball.  Sadly, his last uniform number was 66, as he passed away in June of 2014, the number 66 subsequently retired by the team.  The New Jersey native married his high school sweetheart at home plate before a 1951 minor league game, and the two remained happily married until his passing 63 years later.

Upon his passing, then-commissioner Bud Selig stated "As a player, Don experienced the joys of the 1955 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers and the struggles of the '62 Mets.  In his managerial and coaching career, this unique baseball man led the Cubs to a division crown and then, at his good friend Joe Torre's loyal side, helped usher in a new era in the fabled history of the Yankees."

Of Zimmer's six Championship rings, none are more important than this - his 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers ring, earned as one of the "Boys Of Summer."  The handsome award, still in its presentation box, was given by Zimmer to his son, and eventually was sold at auction in 2004.  Zimmer himself addressed the sale of the ring at auction, explaining he gave the ring to his son Tom so that the diamond could be used for an engagement ring, and that his son sold it, and a number of other items, to "one of those memorabilia guys."  Zim did not mind the ring being sold - "What's wrong with selling your ring?" he asked, "I wear my 2000 Yankee ring, but what am I supposed to do with all the other ones?  You have to put 'em in a safety deposit box." 

The ring attained a price of $44,621 in that 2004 auction, and subsequently made its way South over the course of several private transactions.  This past summer, the ring was consigned to Love of the Game, and made the journey back to New Jersey.

1955 Dodgers rings are rare, and extremely desirable.  Earlier this summer, a ring presented to the Ebbets Field visiting clubhouse attendant sold for $45,000 at auction.  The ring presented to manager Walter Alston reached $70,000 two years ago.  Examples presented to players - much less players as beloved as Don Zimmer - simply do not make themselves available at auction with any frequency.

The ring is fashioned of 14 karat white gold, weighing in at approximately 33 grams.  It remains in remarkable condition, with light wear visible at the bottom and inside of the band, certainly of little consequence when considering overall visual appeal.  It is set into a blue stone on the face, surrounded by the words "Brooklyn World Champions." The left shank exhibits Zimmer's facsimile signature inside a baseball with red stitching, set inside crossed bats with the Brooklyn "B" underneath.  The right shank features a Dodgers logo with the word "First" embossed above it, the year 1955 underneath.  The stamping of "14K" on the ring's inner band is of note, as it differs from other 1955 Dodgers rings sold over the years.  The Dieges & Cust logo brand found on the inner band of those rings is not present here, the aforementioned "14K" stamp applied instead.  

The piece is housed inside an original Dieges & Clust presentation box, accompanied by a copy of a letter from collector Steven Mitnick, who purchased the ring (along with some other Zimmer items) from Tom Zimmer in 1992 and subsequently sold the piece.

During our research we reviewed the ring with several experts as well as the original auctioneer of the 2004 sale, who confirmed that this is, indeed, the ring offered in that sale.  Our jewelry expert has confirmed that the diamond is authentic and appears original to the piece (though such a thing can never be unequivocally determined).  The original 2004 auctioneer noted his experience with Zimmer's memorabilia, which was all kept in pristine condition, and noted that his experience with this ring extended beyond the actual sale, as he viewed the ring in the context of an advanced collection, long before it was actually auctioned.  The provenance is quite remarkable, and helps establish a chain of custody from Zimmer himself through the 2004 auction.

This is quite simply an extraordinary piece, incredibly well-preserved, with strong provenance definitively tracing the piece from one of baseball's finest and most respected ambassadors, through his family, with photographic evidence of its 2004 sale available online.  A truly magnificent collectible, one of the most desirable of all World Series rings, and one of the few examples presented to a player to make their way to public auction.

Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring
Don Zimmer's 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series Ring
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $20,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $48,622
Number Bids: 16
Auction closed on Sunday, August 12, 2018.
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