No. 11. Ryan Zimmerman’s number was retired yesterday. Washington’s first 1st Round pick back in 2005, who played his entire career in the nation’s capital, ended up being the first player to have his number retired by the franchise. Pretty unique.
Seventeen years after they drafted him, the Nationals retired Zimmerman’s iconic No. 11, added his name to the ring of honor around the facade of the upper deck in the ballpark, and replaced Max Scherzer’s heterochromic eyes, up above the upper deck in right field, with a No. 11 logo banner.
“It’s humbling,” Zimmerman told reporters of the whole affair. “It’s fun.”
The No. 4 overall pick in the ‘05 Draft said on Saturday there was no way he could have predicted this is how his career would end when he was drafted out of the University of Virginia.
“Nobody thinks this is going to happen. Nobody expects this to happen,” Zimmerman told reporters in Nationals Park.
“You don’t take it for granted, you appreciate it,” the 37-year-old, 16-year veteran continued, “... and you just want to continue to do things to help the organization, help the community. It doesn’t stop after today. Like I said, I’ll be around. We’re going to raise our kids here, I’m going to be involved with the team. This is obviously a great honor, but life moves on after today as well.”
But just to stop for a moment, before moving on, he’s had quite an impact on the team, its fans, and the DMV area.
For a generation of fans, he’s been the face of the franchise, and he’s part of the club that brought a World Series title to D.C. in 2019, for the first time in 95 years.
“The fact that they’re still wearing his number,” manager Davey Martinez said before the 4th of 5 with the Phillies in Nationals Park, “I don’t think that’s ever going to go away.”
“I mean, that’s how much he means to this organization, to this city, to me, to the guys that will come here. Everybody knows who Ryan Zimmerman is, everybody will know who Ryan Zimmerman is.”
“Man, I don’t think you set out to do that kind of stuff,” Zimmerman said looking back on his career, and all he accomplished.
“I was just always told to play the game the right way. Treat people with respect. I think from there, people think of you what they’re going to think of you.
“I just tried to lead by example and do the right thing and kind of always be there for people.”