Ryan Zimmerman, the 11th Washington Nationals player, is being retired

WASHINGTON — Seventeen Years and 11 Days After Ryan Zimmerman Was the first player drafted by the new-to town Washington NationalsHis No. The club's first jersey number was 11

A ceremony was held before Saturday's game between Washington, the Philadelphia PhilliesThe man known as Mr. National took off a blue uniform shirt that had “11” on it and gave it to his father. Mike Wallace, clubhouse manager, received it.

A plaque will be presented. Zimmerman's name and number were unveiled on a façade of the upper deck in foul territory between home plate and right field at Nationals Park.

Zimmerman stated that the unique story of his career was that he was there from the beginning. He was speaking at a news conference in which he was introduced to the team as special advisor for baseball operations and business operations. “It's just kind of being fortunate to be here the first year, then staying here, and being able grow — with fans, with the organization. … That's what I consider makes me unique and special. It wasn't something I did, I was simply here.

An example classic of Zimmerman understatement.

He was a subdued leader. Although he didn't speak much, everyone listened to him when he spoke. … “He'd do it discreetly, but his message will get across,” Dave Martinez, Nationals manager, said. Ryan is that way.

He grew up in Virginia Beach and played baseball as a kid with David Wright and the Upton siblings. He never left the area and went to the University of Virginia before he joined the Nationals for his entire career.

Zimmerman started as a third baseman but shoulder injuries forced him to move to first base. He retired as the club's statistical lead in more than 10 offensive categories including hits (1.846), RBIs (1.061), and game-ending homers (11).

He was a NL All-Star twice. He was present when the ex-Expos lost 100 of their games twice. He was also present to assist the Nationals in winning the 2019 World Series.

“I'll always remember how ‘Zim” was on the fields, and away from them. He was also so in touch with the community. Philadelphia's said that he did not take the game as a given. Bryce HarperZimmerman's 2012-18 teammate, “It was a lot fun to see him be honored in this manner. He's Mr. National. It's a fact that everyone knows.”

Harper's current team was visiting so Harper was there, perched on top of the dugout steps Saturday, cheering along with the crowd that gave Zimmerman many standing ovations.

Jayson Werth, Jayson Werth, and Ian Desmond, who were all former teammates, also praised Ryan Zimmerman, saying that Ryan was “one of the main reasons I came to Washington; without him this franchise would be a different place.” — Ian Desmond said that Ryan Zimmerman “was one of the main reason why I came here; the effort and energy he put into the organisation; the loyalty throughout it all” — as well as Daniel Murphy, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche, Brian Schneider and Gio Gonzalez, Gio Gonzalez, Gio Gonzalez, Gio Gonz

“He's a very special young man. Mark Lerner, principal owner of the Nationals, said that he is looking into the possibility of selling them. “People are proud of the fact that he has remained with one franchise throughout his career. He is a National for the rest of his life.”

Many former teammates offered support during the video tribute to Zimmerman during the pregame on-field celebrations. Another video featured Zimmerman's family and wife narrating.

Zimmerman was holding one of his sons and threw the ceremonial first pitch. His father caught it, while his daughters shouted, “Play ball!” Before the first pitch was actually thrown by Josiah Gray.

The number that the Nationals will no longer wear is the one worn by the player. Zimmerman explained that the number was accidental.

As a child, he wore the No. 1, not because of any major leaguer, but because of 1990s NBA All Star Anfernee “Penny”, his favorite basketball player. Turns out, that the assignment was given to Matt Dunn at Virginia.

“They gave me 11 just by chance. As a freshman at college, I was not going to ask for anything so I just said, “All right.” That's cool. Zimmerman said, “I used be ‘1' and now I am '11.” “So boring story, but it's the way it is.”

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