He was the first draft pick in Washington Nationals' history and was the public face of the team. He lived through 100-loss seasons and playoff heartache before finally winning the World Series. He's now 37 years old and ready to move on.
Zimmerman, in many ways, an old-school player, announced his retirement via the modern-school Twitter method on Tuesday. This ended a decorated career in which he was the Nationals' top hitting prospect and helped his team win its only major league title.
He wrote an open letter addressed to Washington, stating that he was 20 years old when he first met him. "I didn't know how incredible the next 17 years would be in my life."
Zimmerman was selected fourth in the June 2005 draft, during the Nationals first season in Washington after moving from Montreal. Zimmerman made his major league debut in September 2005. He hit.397 in 20 contests, which gave a glimpse at what was to follow.
"Ryan will always be Mr. National." Ryan has given us 17 amazing years of memories, from the walk-off home runs to carrying the World Series trophy down Constitution Avenue to the end of the 2021 regular seasons when our fans gave him a standing ovation that no one will soon forget," Mark Lerner, team owner, said in a statement.
Popular and productive, Zimmerman was two-time All-Star. He also won a Gold Glove at 3B and helped the Nationals reach five more postseasons. The highlight of his career was their 2019 championship run.
Zimmerman's pinch-hit, two-out single against Milwaukee relief ace Josh Hader in the NL wild card game that year led to a 3-3 win. Later, he hit the first World Series homer against Houston ace GerritCole in the opener. Washington won in seven more games.
Zimmerman, among others, set Nationals career records in RBIs (1.061), hits (1.846), and games (1.799).
In 16 seasons, he batted.277 with a career.341 base percentage and.475 hitting percentage. He also hit 11 walk-off homers which was the seventh-highest ever. These include a game-ending shot with only two outs in the bottom ninth inning on March 30, 2008 against the NL East rival Atlanta Braves to win the regular season debut of Nationals Park.
Zimmerman was the Nationals' third baseman from 2006 to 2013. He remained there until 2013. He spent 2014 in the outfield, and then took over at first base in 2015.
Zimmerman decided to forgo the 2020 pandemic-delayed season due to COVID-19 concerns.
"I have a three-week-old baby. Zimmerman wrote the following story in a story for The Associated Press a month prior to the season's beginning in late July.
Zimmerman hit.243 last year with 14 home runs, 46 RBIs and a total of 110 runs. Last month, Zimmerman's fourth child was born to his wife Heather.
Zimmerman announced his retirement saying that "my baseball career is over, but my family and me will continue to be heavily involved with the DMV community."
"You have been so generous over the past 17 year; now it is time to give back to your. We are looking forward to continuing many of the community programs we have started and creating new ones in future. As this is our home, we are excited to raise our children here. He said that this isn't a goodbye, but more of an "see you around" message.
Zimmerman founded the ziMS Foundation in 2006 in order to assist people with multiple sclerosis. He also established, along with his wife, the Pros For Heroes COVID-19 Relief Fund for 2020.
The Nationals nominated Zimmerman six times for the Roberto Clemente award presented by Major League Baseball.
Dave Martinez, Nationals manager, said that Ryan's accomplishments and numbers are impressive but what will stick with me most is his leadership and respect around the game.