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UVA baseball honors Ryan Zimmerman with jersey retirement ceremony

The Virginia baseball team honored former UVA superstar Ryan Zimmerman on Saturday, as the Cavaliers held a ceremony to retire his jersey No. 11 before the star
Published: May. 1, 2022 at 12:24 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia baseball team honored former UVA superstar Ryan Zimmerman on Saturday, as the Cavaliers held a ceremony to retire his jersey No. 11 before the start game against Virginia Tech at Disharoon Park.

A sellout crowd of 5,919 fans were in attendance to witness the ceremony, and many of the fans were lined up outside the stadium hours before the start of the game, in hopes of claiming a commemorative t-short or bobblehead.

Ryan Zimmerman is the first player in the 134 year history of the program to have his jersey number retired.

“This is where it all started,” says Zimmerman. “To come back, and have the ultimate honor, it’s humbling. I still keep in-touch with so many of my teammates from here. Obviously the coaches, and so many of the people from there community here. Charlottesville is a special place to me. To have something like this done for you is humbling.”

UVA baseball head coach Brian O’Connor says, “To look up and have this stadium full, on this day that the greatest player who’s worn our uniform, to honor him, was really, really special.”

Ryan Zimmerman threw out the ceremonial first pitch while holding his son, and Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor showed off his athleticism while making the play behind the plate.

“I told him it was impressive,” says O’Connor, “that he was able to throw it around the zone, but that speaks to who he is. He’s got his son in his arms, throwing out the First Pitch on his day, is really, really cool.”

Zimmerman played 16-seasons in the Big Leagues, helped the Nats win their first-ever World Series title, and was a member of UVA’s inaugural Hall of Fame Class.

He also donated more than one-million dollars to the Cavaliers’ program, and helped kickstart the expansion of the ‘Hoos home field.

“There’s no chance I’d be where I’m at now without this place,” says Zimmerman. “My parents always taught me to give back. What better place to give back than the place that got you where you are?”

O’Connor adds, “It’s just so rare to see a player of that magnitude, to do what they did at the highest level of baseball, and to be so engaged back at the school that they went to, is really impressive.”

The 11th ranked Virginia baseball team beat No. 7 Virginia Tech 6-3 in Game Two of their series, and the teams will play the series finale on Sunday at 11 AM.

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