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Rays' Zimmer part of pine tar lore

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Thursday was the 25th anniversary of the famous George Brett pine-tar incident at Yankee Stadium, and the memories are still vivid for Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer.

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That's because he had such a good seat.

Zimmer was a coach on Billy Martin's staff in 1983 and sitting on the bench when the Yankees manager pointed out that the bat Brett used to hit a home run had more pine tar than was allowed.

"It was just a crazy thing," Zimmer said Thursday. "The way it happened was wild. I don't think I ever saw a ballplayer go much wilder than George did, and he was an easygoing guy. He came out of the dugout like a brahma bull."

Zimmer said he and Martin had noticed and "discussed" earlier in the game that Brett's bat was in violation of the rules, and Martin waited for the proper time — the homer in the ninth put the Royals up 5-4 — to point it out.

Zimmer said nobody thought it would be that big of a deal then, much less 25 years later.

"I wasn't really proud of it," Zimmer said. "And to this day I don't talk about it to many people."

The Royals' protest of the disallowed homer was upheld and they returned to Yankee Stadium on Aug. 18, 1983, to complete the inning and record the victory.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Rays' Zimmer part of pine tar lore 07/24/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 25, 2008 7:30am]
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