Friday, June 06, 2014

Freedom's Greatest Hero

June 6, 2014

Winston Spencer Churchill's refusal to cower to Adolf Hitler's overwhelming power raises him to among the greatest defenders of freedom in all history. The Normandy invasion and the subsequent liberation of millions of people in Western Europe occurred primarily because he took such a bold stand in the critical years before the invasion. More than 70 years later, his story is still an inspiration for freedom-loving people everywhere.

Throughout the 1930s, Churchill warned that Hitler's rise had to be confronted before it was too late. His warnings went unheeded, leaving him a political outcast. By 1939, however, Hitler's war machine was rolling and Churchill'spredictions about him were becoming apparent.

Churchill succeeded Neville Chamberlain as prime minister on May 10, 1940, the same day Hitler launched his offensive into Western Europe. Churchill commented that day, “I only hope that it is not too late.”

In the dark days that followed, an Allied victory seemed unimaginable. Holland fell in hours. Belgium fell in days. In two weeks, the Germans had broken through to the English Channel, splitting the French and British armies. The fall of France followed in mid-June. Britain then stood alone against the German onslaught.

While some of his compatriots began wondering whether Britain should sue for peace, Churchill stood firm through this bleak time. He convinced the British that their only choice was to fight on alone, even if that meant they were to go down fighting.

In a series of rousing speeches, Churchill rallied his people's courage and sense of historic greatness. “We shall not flag or fail,” he said before Parliament on June 4. “We shall go on till the end... We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.”

The effect was electrifying. Pensive members of Parliament rose in thundering applause. Their astonishment that the British Empire was facing such imminent danger was transformed into a dogged defiance. In the days and weeks that followed, Churchill persuaded his countrymen to shrug off danger, take heart in “standing alone”, and hold on until the tide of war changed.

Flush with victory in France, Hitler waited for a British peace offer. The British meanwhile prepared their defenses, and what may have been militarily possible for Hitler in early June was becoming increasingly improbable with each passing day.
For an invasion to succeed, the Luftwaffe would first have to dominate the air.The Royal Air Force and its airfields were thus the focus of the initial air raids.

When the Battle of Britain began in August, the Germans held almost a 3-to-1advantage in aircraft. As the air battle raged, the RAF was downing German aircraft at a rate of nearly 2 to 1. Yet after weeks of relentless attacks,the Luftwaffe was wearing the RAF down. Then the Luftwaffe changed its objective and began bombing London and other cities, trying to cause a civilian panic. While many people were killed in the raids, the change in German plans allowed the RAF to regain its advantage in the skies above southern England.

Churchill urged his fellow citizens to conduct themselves so that, “if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say, ‘This was their finest hour.’” He spent much time among ordinary people who had lost homes and loved ones in the bombings. Their stories of courage and adversity often moved him to tears.
Winter was coming and the RAF was still a threat, so Hitler called off the invasion. Churchill knew that alone Britain could not defeat Germany. Yet Britain defended itself and dealt Hitler his first setback.

Churchill knew he had to keep his island nation in the fight until the United States came into the war. With Hitler unrestrained on the continent, that proved to be just a matter of time.

The German army was invading the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. Had Britain fallen the year before, the Germans likely would have been successful against the Soviets as well. We could have seen a Nazi empire stretching from central Russia to the Atlantic.

Or, had the Soviets prevailed, we may have seen their ‘Iron Curtain’ span from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
Yet Britain did survive, D-Day occurred, and the continent has seen -- at least in Western Europe -- freedom ever since. This legacy is largely due to Winston Churchill. From him we learn the crucial lessons to have courage to confront a threat before it becomes a catastrophe, and not to make a false peace with oppressors.

With daring and sheer will, he rallied Britain to its finest hour and turned back tyranny for the free world. While we remember the brave men who went ashore that fateful morning, at D-Day plus 70 years, we should also remember the man who made it possible. No one more deserves to be honored as the world’s greatest defender of freedom than does Winston Spencer Churchill.

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Book Review: 'The Obstacle is the Way' by Ryan Holiday

June 4, 2014
Here’s a quick quiz. Which would you prefer to read, given these choices?
  1. A philosophy book focused on the ancient concept of Stoicism.
  2. A short, inspiring book packed with stories describing how famous leaders and entrepreneurs achieved success by pragmatic action in the face of overwhelming odds.

Author Ryan Holiday has cleverly disguised the first choice in the guise of the second in his new book, The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph.
In fact, this book reads far more like a book of practical business advice than a dusty philosophy tome. Holiday is a media strategist, Director of Marketing for American Apparel, and the author of the best selling book, Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator.
What makes this relatively short book so engaging is that it is packed with stories. Each brief chapter focuses on a principle, usually illustrated with at least one example of a leader who employed that principle to overcome adversity.
One chapter, “Follow the Process,” starts with a description of Coach Nick Saban’s unprecedented achievements base, in large part, on his process. Instead of focusing on novel strategies or motivational speeches, Saban and his teams grind forward, always striving to exist in the present moment. Finishing is the focus: finishing workouts, plays, drives, games, and so on. This small-picture emphasis leads to big-picture success.
The Power of Negative Thinking

CMOs and business leaders of all types will find the chapter titled, “Anticipation (Thinking Negatively),” relevant. It dives into the “premortem” concept – before you roll out a campaign or project, the responsible group meets to discuss why it failed. Members suggest reasons for failure, with the hope that by enumerating them at the start they can be avoided.
Although the practice of conducting a premortem meeting seems like a recent innovation, Holiday points out that this concept dates back to the stoics. They called itpremeditatio malorum, or premeditation of evils. (Don’t worry, references to dead languages are hard to find in Obstacle.)
What Stoicism Isn’t
In popular English usage, “stoic” has taken on the meaning of being without emotion, or even passive. Holiday explains that while the Stoic philosophy does indeed discourage pointless displays of potentially distracting emotion, it is, in fact action and results-oriented. Rather than passively enduring suffering, a true Stoic evaluates the situation in a realistic and pragmatic way, then attempts to solve the problem.
When faced with an obstacle, many people might quit, or spend energy complaining about it. Leaders and innovators find a way around, over, or through the obstacle, often achieving greater success than they would have otherwise.
Sometimes obstacles can be made to defeat themselves. In his quest to change India, Gandhi had no power and the ruling hierarchy had immense power. So, he deliberately violated a minor law prohibiting collecting salt from the sea, knowing that an attempt to bring the might of the state down on him to enforce that law would make the rulers look ridiculous.
Holiday, in a chapter titled, “Get Moving,” points out the value of taking even small steps toward your goal. We all know Amelia Earhart for her solo flying exploits, but how she got her start is less well known. Unable to make a living as a pilot, she took a job in social work. Then, as a publicity stunt, a group offered to fund the first transatlantic flight by a woman with her on board. Even though she wouldn’t be allowed to fly the plane, wouldn’t be paid, and was the second choice for the role, she accepted. By refusing to be offended, she seized the opportunity that was offered and launched her illustrious career.
The Obstacle Is The Way is an inspiring read for anyone faced with adversity – and who isn’t?
Most of us aren’t faced with the kind of obstacles faced by Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, or George Patton. But, reading their stories puts our everyday challenges in perspective and makes them seem surmountable.
We can all benefit from the Stoic emphasis on pragmatic decision-making, flexibility in the face of changing conditions, and seeing the world as it really is. Business people at any level will find Obstacle helpful, but I think it’s particularly appropriate for new graduates. If they can internalize even a part of this philosophy, they and those they work with will benefit greatly.
If you spend a few hours with The Obstacle is The Way, you may save years of future angst.
Roger Dooley is the author of Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing (Wiley, 2011). Find Roger on Twitter as@rogerdooley and at his website, Neuromarketing.

Free Bowe Bergdahl, then try him

In images taken from the Voice Of Jihad website, authenticated based on its contents and other Associated Press reporting, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is released by his Taliban captors and put on a helicopter flight out of eastern Afghanistan. (Voice Of Jihad/The Associated Press)
What is it with Susan Rice and the Sunday morning talk shows? This time she said Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had served in Afghanistan “with honor and distinction” — the biggest whopper since she insisted the Benghazi attack was caused by a video.
There is strong eyewitness evidence that Bergdahl deserted his unit and that the search for him endangered his fellow soldiers. If he had served with honor and distinction, there would be no national uproar over his ransom and some of the widely aired objections to the deal would be as muted as they are flimsy. For example:
1. America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.
Nonsense. Of course we do. Everyone does, while pretending not to. The Israelis, by necessity the toughest of all anti-terror fighters, in 2011 gave up 1,027 prisoners, some with blood on their hands, for one captured staff sergeant.
2. The administration did not give Congress 30-day notice as required by law.
Of all the jurisdictional disputes between president and Congress, the president stands on the firmest ground as commander in chief. And commanders have the power to negotiate prisoner exchanges.
Moreover, from where did this sudden assertion of congressional prerogative spring? After five years of supine acquiescence to President Obama’s multiple usurpations, Congress suddenly becomes exercised over a war power — where its claim is weakest. Congress does nothing in the face of 23 executive alterations of the president’s own Affordable Care Act. It does nothing when Obama essentially enacts by executive order the Dream Act, which Congress had refused to enact. It does nothing when the Justice Department unilaterally rewrites drug laws. And now it rises indignantly on its hind legs because it didn’t get 30 days’ notice of a prisoner swap?
3. The Taliban release endangers national security.
Indeed it does. The five released detainees are unrepentant, militant and dangerous. They’re likely to go back into the field and resume their war against local and foreign infidels, especially us.
The administration pretense that we and the Qataris will monitor them is a joke. They can start planning against us tonight. And if they decide to leave Qatar tomorrow, who’s going to stop them?
The administration might have tried honesty here and said: Yes, we gave away five important combatants. But that’s what you do to redeem hostages. In such exchanges, the West always gives more than it gets for the simple reason that we value individual human life more than do the barbarians with whom we deal.
No shame here, merely a lamentable reality. So why does the Bergdahl deal rankle? Because of how he became captive in the first place. That’s the real issue. He appears to have deserted, perhaps even defected.
The distinction is important. If he’s a defector — joined the enemy to fight against his country — then he deserves no freeing. Indeed, he deserves killing, the way we kill other enemies in the field, the way we killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American who had openly joined al-Qaeda. A U.S. passport does not entitle a traitor to any special protection. (Caveat: If a POW is turned, Stockholm-syndrome-like, after falling captive, these condemnatory considerations don’t apply.)
Assume, however — and we will find out soon enough — that Bergdahl was not a defector. Simply wanted out — a deserter who walked or wandered away from his duty and his comrades for reasons as yet unknown. Do you bargain for a deserter?
Two imperatives should guide the answer. Bergdahl remains a member of the U.S. military and therefore is (a) subject to military justice and (b) subject to the soldiers’ creed that we don’t leave anyone behind.
What to do? Free him, then try him. Make the swap and then, if the evidence is as strong as it now seems, court-martial him for desertion.
The swap itself remains, nonetheless, a very close call. I would fully respect a president who rejected the deal as simply too unbalanced. What is impossible to respect is a president who makes this heart-wrenching deal and then does a victory lap in the Rose Garden and has his senior officials declare it a cause for celebration. The ever dutiful, ever clueless Susan Rice hailed it as “an extraordinary day for America.”
Good God. This is no victory. This is a defeat, a concession to a miserable reality, a dirty deal, perhaps necessary as a matter of principle but to be carried out with regret, resignation, even revulsion.
The Rose Garden stunt wasn’t a messaging failure. It’s a category error. The president seems oblivious to the gravity, indeed the very nature, of what he has just done. Which is why a stunned and troubled people are asking themselves what kind of man they have twice chosen to lead them.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Bowe Bergdahl, Just Deserts

By Ann Coulter
June 4, 2014

Screen grab from Taliban video with Bowe Bergdahl (Monir/McClatchy)

Death Penalty Month at has already been interrupted by the psycho in Santa Barbara, and now it's being interrupted by the Buddhist in Bagram.

Keeping to the spirit of Death Penalty Month, let's review the execution of Pvt. Eddie Slovik. Slovik's offense: desertion in wartime. (See the tie-in?)

Unlike Bowe Bergdahl, who deserted his unit, according to the accounts of his comrades, Slovik never actually deserted. He also didn't call America a "disgusting" country or say he was "ashamed to be an American."

Slovik was just a chicken.

In October 1944, as Allied forces were sweeping through France, Slovik left his position on the front lines, walked to the rear of his unit and handed a note to the cook, confessing his desertion. The letter explained that he was "so scared" that he had already abandoned his unit once, and concluded: "AND I'LL RUN AWAY AGAIN IF I HAVE TO GO OUT THERE."

Slovik was like Bradley Manning minus the lipstick and eyeliner.

A lieutenant, a company commander and a judge advocate all tried to persuade Slovik to shred the letter and return to his unit, warning him that he'd be tried for desertion otherwise. Slovik refused.

In the middle of World War II, the military court-martialed Slovik, tried him and sentenced him to death.

Allied Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower denied Slovik's pardon request, saying it would encourage more desertions, just as the fighting was getting especially hot. Slovik was executed by firing squad and buried among the numbered graves of court-martialed rapists and murderers in an American military cemetery in France.

Contrast Slovik's story with the beloved troop whose return just cost us the release of five of the most dangerous terrorists in the world.

Three days before he walked off his base, Bergdahl emailed his parents:

-- "I am ashamed to be an american."

-- "The US army is the biggest joke ... It is the army of liars, backstabbers, fools and bullies."

-- "These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid."

-- "The horror that is america is disgusting."

These emails were given to the author of a 2012 Rolling Stone article on the case by Bergdahl's own parents.

The overwrought soldier's father, Bob, emailed back: "OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!" And then, according to the Rolling Stone profile reporting these emails -- as well as the Army report on the incident -- Bergdahl "decided to walk away."

Bergdahl's unit commander, Evan Buetow, told CNN's Jake Tapper that intercepted Taliban "chatter" soon revealed that Bergdahl was looking for a member of the Taliban who spoke English. (Other than his father.)

Buetow said he couldn't prove it, but he believed Bergdahl began helping the Taliban attack his own unit. After that, Buetow says, the assaults were much more direct, and Bergdahl would have known the unit's tactics and how they would respond to an attack.

U.S. forces in the area spent the next two months on a single mission: trying to find Bergdahl. It is beyond dispute that any American killed during that time was killed on a mission to "rescue" Bergdahl from his new comrades.

Over the years, the Taliban produced several propaganda videos with Bergdahl -- eating, doing push-ups and criticizing American foreign policy.

During the Vietnam War, POW Navy Vice Admiral James Stockdale disfigured himself so that he could not be used in a propaganda video. He slit his wrists to avoid being tortured for information.

When captured Navy aviator Jeremiah Denton was forced by the North Vietnamese to make a propaganda video, he blinked the word T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse code, over and over again, as he said these words:

"I don't know what is going on in the war now. My only sources are North Vietnamese radio, magazines and newspapers. But whatever the position of my government, I agree with it. I support it. I will support it as long as I live."

It was the first confirmation the U.S. had that the North Vietnamese were torturing POWs.

These men -- and many more -- had limbs torn from their sockets, their legs and backs shattered by the North Vietnamese. As Denton said of the repeated torture, he'd rather lose an arm than his honor.

When right-wingers get choked up about "the troops," these are the sort of men we're thinking of. Not Bowe "America is disgusting" Bergdahl.

But to Obama, Bergdahl was the picture of American manhood and military honor.

He released five of the most dangerous terrorists in the world -- captured at great cost to our military -- in order to give Bergdahl an exit plan from his Great Adventure. (Before he ever set foot in Afghanistan, Bergdahl had told a fellow soldier, "If this deployment is lame, I'm just going to walk off into the mountains of Pakistan.")

Bergdahl wasn't being "left behind" or "left on the battlefield." He was being left where he wanted to be, with the poor, innocent Talibanists, far away from this "disgusting" country that made him "ashamed to be an American."


Baseball gods owed Don Zimmer one

Ex-Yanks bench coach took a gift from the baseball heavens -- a seat next to Torre

June 5, 2014

Don Zimmer and Joe Torre at the 2000 All-Star game in Atlanta (TONY DEJAK/AP)

The baseball gods are more forgiving with than you think, and Don Zimmer could have attested to that. They saddled his managerial legacy with the collapse of 1978, when hisBoston Red Sox blew a 14-game lead to the New York Yankees, and made him endure the sight of a slap-hitting shortstop, Bucky Dent, swatting the division clincher over the great green wall in left field.
It was a fate far worse than his .235 career batting average or his 1962 season as a member of the original Mets. But in the end, out of left field, Zimmer got even on all scoreboards. The baseball gods owed him more than one, so they handed him a seat next to Joe Torre in 1996, the best seat in the house.
"Richie Ashburn said being with Joe would be the most fun I ever had," Zimmer would say two years later. "I wish Richie was alive so I could tell him he was right."
[+] EnlargeDon Zimmer and Joe Torre
Keith Torrie/NY Daily News Archive/Getty ImagesJoe Torre's bold bench coach, Don Zimmer, rewrote his legacy with the Yanks in the late '90s, thanks to a gift from the baseball gods.
Zimmer would be Torre's co-pilot on a journey nobody saw coming, not after the thrice-fired manager was hired by George Steinbrenner in the fall of 1995 and was greeted by a screaming tabloid headline that called him "Clueless Joe." Torre pulled Zimmer out of semi-retirement to be his bench coach, and their partnership turned out to be baseball's answer to Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon.
"When Joe asked me to work for him, I didn't know him well," Zimmer would say. "But I knew three weeks in he'd become one of the special people in my life. Joe's had a lot to do with why I haven't retired again."
Zimmer was having too much fun to quit, too much fun watching Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera grow into first-ballot Hall of Famers and centerpieces of the Yankees' last dynasty. Whenever Joe Torre, or Joe Cool, was sitting too comfortably in the dugout, playing things by the book, the riverboat gambler inside Zimmer would emerge in full force, compelling the manager to get the baserunners moving, to call for a squeeze, something, anything, to catch the opponent off guard.
"We had a perfect marriage," Torre once said.
Perfect enough to win four World Series titles in their first five years together. With his Popeye arms and bulging cheeks and unconventional plans of attack, Zimmer was seen as a beloved -- if eccentric -- uncle and one with a clear favorite nephew: Jeter.
The bench coach would hold the shortstop's bat in the dugout, and Jeter would come over and rub his bald head for good luck. Not long after Jeter's signature flip play against the Oakland A's in the 2001 American League Division Series, a play some corners of Yankeedom swore had been practiced, Zimmer shot down those who were skeptical of the claim. He said the Yanks had interns running the bases during a defensive drill one spring when a right fielder overthrew both of his cutoff men, stopping Zimmer and Torre in their tracks.
"We looked at each other and said, 'What are we going to do if that happens in the game?'" Zimmer would say. "Well, there's not going to be a play at second or third; what's the shortstop doing? We found a spot for him."
A character to the nth degree, Zimmer was in the middle of everything. He once went nose to nose with Mariano Duncan in the clubhouse after the second baseman had a heated exchange with another Zim favorite, Joe Girardi. In 1999, while filling in for Torre during the manager's battle with prostate cancer, Zimmer feuded with Steinbrenner over his handling of Hideki Irabu. During the '99 Yanks-Mariners brawl that featured Jeter and good friendAlex Rodriguez play-fighting on the periphery, a scene that infuriated Jeter teammate Chad Curtis, Zimmer got all but trampled under a pile of players who were throwing real punches.
Four years later, Zimmer was the 72-year-old raging bull who charged Pedro Martinez in the middle of the ALCS and who ended up being thrown hard to the Fenway Park grass. Paramedics later lifted him onto a white stretcher, strapped him down at the shoulders, waist and knees and loaded him into a waiting ambulance. Martinez would say years later that Zimmer wanted to punch him in the mouth and said something disparaging about his mother, a claim the old coach vehemently denied. Asked what his intentions were when making his run at Martinez, Zimmer deadpanned, "I sure wasn't going over there to kiss him."
He kept throwing haymakers at Steinbrenner on behalf of his guy, Torre. In 2003, Zimmer was out the door for good and, ultimately, on his way to Tampa Bay, where he served the Rays as a senior adviser. The news that Zimmer had died at 83 Wednesday night hit the game hard, especially in the Bronx, where Girardi teared up when talking about the man who managed him in Chicago and mentored him in New York.
At his locker, Jeter told reporters that he found out about Zimmer's death halfway through the Yankees' 7-4 loss to Oakland. "I can sit here and talk to you for days about Zim," the captain said. He mentioned how much fun Zimmer was to have around.
"It's a tough one," Jeter said.
A tough one to take about one of the toughest guys in sports.
Zimmer was tough enough to survive a 1953 beaning that left him in a coma and forced doctors to drill holes on both sides of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain and to survive a 1956 beaning that left him with a detached retina. He was tough enough to help the Brooklyn Dodgers win it all in 1955 and to make it through 66 professional seasons as a player, coach and counselor.
"I hired him as a coach," Torre said in a statement Wednesday night, "and he became like a family member to me."
A family member who forever stood up for his own. Zimmer would say that Torre reminded him of Gil Hodges and Walter Alston, men who could be firm and gentle at the same time. He would also say that Torre did more managing in the early years in the Bronx than he was ever given credit for.
"Joe doesn't just sit back and watch," Zimmer said. "Look at the playoffs. How many managers would have the nerve to pinch hit for [Wade] Boggs, to pinch hit for Paul O'Neill, to sit Tino Martinez for [Cecil Fielder] against the Braves? Those were three of the damnedest things I've seen a manager do."
Torre was willing to take those high-stakes risks, in part because his bench coach empowered him to be bold. In the end, Don Zimmer had a big hand in the making of a Yankees dynasty. The baseball gods owed him that much.

Zimmer central to many memories

From '75 and '78 to Pedro in '03, Red Sox moments a big part of his baseball life

June 5, 2014

Then-Red Sox manager Don Zimmer conferring with Ted Williams in 1978. (AP)

CLEVELAND -- This was the only way Don Zimmer was going to leave the game. He actually quit once, almost 19 years ago to the day Wednesday, leaving in the fifth inning because he didn't want anyone fussing over his retirement as a coach of the Colorado Rockies. He was 64 at the time, and when he left that June day in 1995, he took two fungoes with him. "He said he needed them to hit infield,'' manager Don Baylor said.
Six months later, days after cashing his first Social Security check, he was back, embarking on what would become one of the most famous -- and rewarding -- chapters of an extraordinary baseball life, as Joe Torre's bench coach in the Bronx. And if you looked closely as the Red Sox played the Rays over the past two weekends, while the ailing Zimmer was not present, Rays third base coach Tom Foley was wearing his jersey.
[+] EnlargeDon Zimmer
Robert Riger/Getty ImagesAfter some ups and memorable downs as Red Sox manager in the '70s, Don Zimmer came back in 1992 to coach under Butch Hobson.
Zimmer's hardball odyssey began in Brooklyn, ended in St. Petersburg and crisscrossed the baseball universe, with Zim wearing the uniforms of teams both iconic -- the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Yankees, the Cubs, the Giants and the Red Sox -- and humble -- the Padres and Rangers and Rockies and Rays and the '62 Mets.
He was Popeye in Brooklyn, the Gerbil in Boston, Yoda in New York and Zim everywhere. He was the last of the Dodgers, a talisman for the Yankees, a great-grandfather to the Rays and an indelible part of the tapestry of Red Sox history for nearly 40 years, from the age of Lynn and Rice and Bill Lee and Bucky Effin' Dent to the era of Pedro and Papi and beyond. Last that long, and sometimes you pass through all the stages of public judgment, from scorn to tolerance to grudging respect to, finally, something approaching love.
He was the Red Sox third-base coach who shouted "No, no, no,'' when Denny Doyle heard "Go, go, go'' in '75. He managed a Sox team that won 99 games in '78 but blew a 14-game lead to the Yankees, who took four straight from the Sox in September in what became known as the Boston Massacre, then won a one-game playoff immortalized by Dent.
He returned in '92 to join the coaching staff of one of his former players, Butch Hobson, the third baseman Zim had played day after day in '78 even though the bone chips in his elbow were crippling.
"I'd see him working those chips around between pitches," Zimmer once told me. "There were times he'd get a double-play ball, but when he went to throw it, he couldn't do it. The elbow had locked up on him."
And in 2003, he was the raging (and aging) bull who charged Pedro Martinez in a Sox-Yankees game and was hurled to the ground, vaulting Martinez into the ranks of all-time Yankee villains.
"Pedro took some heat that he shouldn't have taken," Zimmer would say a year later. "They say,'Well, Pedro beat up an old man.' Pedro didn't beat up an old man -- an old man was dumb enough to go after him. Pedro didn't do nothing wrong, as far as I'm concerned, and doesn't owe me an apology. I went after him, and I apologized to everybody for what I did. And I let it go at that."
[+] EnlargeDon Zimmer
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesDon Zimmer, walking off after being thrown to the ground by Pedro Martinez, said Martinez "didn't do anything wrong."
He was the manager who released the beloved Rico Petrocelli to make room on the roster for Hobson, a move he told me was his toughest ever as a manager.
"My life was threatened," Zimmer said. "I had plainclothes cops around me and everything."
He once told me about the time he was driving home after a game in '78, when things were going south, and they were killing him on the radio, and his daughter, who now lives in New Hampshire, was crying in the backseat.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"I'm so tired of you being booed, Daddy,'' she said. "I'm afraid you're going to get fired.''
Zimmer, of course, was eventually fired, and those hurts did not disappear overnight. But heal they did, and Zimmer spoke with great amusement about the reception he got when he came back years later.
"Tremendous," he said. "You'd think I won the World Series there. When I was manager there, 36,000 people a night, every night, booed me -- everybody except my wife.
"When I go back now, I'm a hero. I hear people say, 'Boy, we're sad you left Boston.' I say, 'Where were you when I needed you?'"
But while forgiveness flowed from all sides, such was not the case with Bill Lee, the Sox pitcher who dubbed Zimmer "Gerbil" and with whom the manager had a hate-hate relationship.
"I can't stand him," Zimmer once told me. "I've been in baseball [for more than 60 years], and he's the only man in baseball I wouldn't let in my home.''
Even so, when the chance came to return to Boston, Zim didn't hesitate.
"I always loved Boston, I really did," he said. "People laughed at me when I said that, even my friends, but I spent seven of the best years of my life there. When Hobson called, I said, 'Let's go.'"
And now, at age 83, Don Zimmer is gone. Hope those fungo bats went with him.

Former Cubs manager Don Zimmer dies at 83

By Paul Sullivan, Tribune reporter
June 5, 2014

In 1960, Zim was traded from the Dodgers to Chicago, where he would play two seasons.
He was named an NL All-Star in 1961 as a Cub.

Baseball lost one of its great ambassadors Wednesday when former Cubs manager Don Zimmer died in Florida at 83.
Zimmer, nicknamed “Popeye” for his strength and big cheeks, spent 66 years in baseball.
But few were as wild as his three-plus seasons managing the Cubs, whom he led to a division title in 1989 with an unpredictable style that never has been replicated.
Zimmer's 247-239 record in his first three seasons with the Cubs was the highest victory total for a Cubs manager at the time since Leo Durocher won 535 games from 1966-72.
His exit was also one of the most memorable in Cubs history. Zimmer handed an ultimatum to Tribune Co. executive Don Grenesko to give him a contract extension early in the 1991 season, asking for the same kind of security the players had.
“Am I any different?” Zimmer said he told Grenesko. “What am I? A piece of garbage in Lake Michigan?”
The ploy didn't work, and Zimmer was fired after 37 games. In typical fashion, he invited the beat writers into his New York hotel suite and told them to empty out the minibar so he could charge it to the team.
Zimmer began his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 and later played for the Cubs under the College of Coaches in 1961. He was dumped into the first National League expansion pool when he popped off about the issue on a WGN-9 pregame show and went on to play for the original Mets. He also played for the Reds and Washington Senators during a 12-year career, mostly as an infielder.
After spending the 1966 season playing in Japan, Zimmer managed in the minors from 1967-70 before becoming a coach with the Montreal Expos in 1971. He had several coaching stints afterward, and managed the Padres, Red Sox, Rangers and Cubs, going 885-858 and winning his one division title with the Cubs.
Zimmer also was bench coach under Joe Torre on four Yankees World Series championship teams and engaged in a famous brawl with the Red Sox during the 2003 ALCS when pitcher Pedro Martinez flung the then-72-year-old coach to the ground.
Torre on Wednesday said that Zimmer was “like family” to him.
“The game was his life, and his passing is going to create a void in my life and my wife, Ali's,” Torre said. “The game of baseball lost a special person tonight.”
Former Cubs coach Jimmy Piersall, a contemporary of Zimmer's as a player, once said Zimmer's life “is his wife and family, baseball and the racetrack.” He was passionate about everything he did, and it showed.
“He was a great, fiery ambassador for the game,” said Zimmer's former Dodgers teammate Roger Craig, who also hired him as a coach when he managed the Padres and Giants. “That's why he worked for so many teams and with so many good baseball people. He loved the races and he loved baseball. He was a great human being.”
Zimmer often was asked about having a steel plate in his head, the result of a beaning in Columbus, Ohio, in 1953, when he was a promising prospect in the Dodgers system. The beanball fractured his skull and led to a blood clot, leaving him unconscious for 12 days. After two operations and five spinal taps, Zimmer eventually returned to baseball and stayed in it the rest of his life.
“I don't have a plate in my head,” Zimmer told the Tribune in 1988. “What I have in my head are buttons, which are like tapered corkscrews in a bottle. Three of them on one side, one on the other side.”
Zimmer seemed indestructible. In 1956, he was hit by a pitch under his left eye, fracturing a cheekbone and almost detaching the retina. In the 1999 AL Division Series, a foul ball struck him in the face. He wore an army helmet the next day, showing his sense of humor.
Nothing could deter Zimmer from doing the job he loved. He was an old-school manager who had a few run-ins with players, particularly Red Sox left-hander Bill Lee, who nicknamed him “The Gerbil.” Lee, Fergie Jenkins and other Red Sox players formed a clique they called “The Buffalo Heads,” referring to Zimmer as a buffalo as a slight to his intellect.
The '78 Red Sox blew a 14-game lead to the Yankees, and Zimmer was vilified in Red Sox Nation. After being fired as a manager for the Red Sox and Rangers, Zimmer expected to be a coach the rest of his career before Cubs general manager Jim Frey, his old friend, offered him the managerial job in 1988.
“Jimmy said, ‘You want to manage the Cubs?'” Zimmer recalled. “And I think I made one statement to him: ‘Who in the hell who has a uniform on wouldn't want to manage the Cubs?'”
Zimmer said he never asked about the contract terms.
“I didn't know if it was a one-year deal for $20 a month or what,” he said. “I trusted Jim Frey to give me what was fair. I didn't have an agent to negotiate a contract for me. We wrapped it up in one sitting. There were three reasons I took the job. The Cubs fans, they're the best. The ballpark, it's something special. And Jim Frey.”
In 1989, Zimmer reached the zenith of his managerial career, throwing out the book and using crazy strategy to great success, including squeeze bunts with the bases loaded and a triple-steal with a pitcher at the plate.
After going 9-23 in spring training, the Cubs came out of nowhere to win the NL East, prompting the nickname “The Boys of Zimmer.” Zimmer's popularity in Chicago soared, especially after he was caught on national TV barking at a critic in the box seats: “Go on home, you fathead.”
Despite losing to the Giants in the NLCS, he was named NL Manager of the Year.
“A couple of breaks here and there, and we could have gone to the Series,” he said after winning the award. “I'm gonna remember this as the greatest year in the 41 years I've been in baseball. I'm not gonna let the last three games change my mind.”
Zimmer was proud to be a baseball lifer, and he died as a member of the Rays organization.
Tribune reporter Mark Gonzales contributed.
Twitter @pwsullivan