Before Friday’s game, as players were heading out to stretch, Schmidt sat next to Manager Davey Johnson on the Nationals’ bench. Schmidt told Johnson specifically that he wanted to chat with Zimmerman, whom he had never met.
When Zimmerman walked by, “I yelled at Zim and said, ‘Ryan, come on back here,’ ” Johnson said. “Mike said a few words to him and shook his hand. He told him, ‘Carry on the tradition.’ ”
Zimmerman and Schmidt only talked for a few seconds, but Zimmerman was glad to have the chance to meet him. “Anything time you get to meet someone like that, it’s cool,” he said.
Schmidt, one of the greatest third basemen in baseball history, is one the players Zimmerman sometimes got compared to as his career began. That’s rare air. Here’s how their careers compare in terms of wins above replacement, the catch-all stat used by FanGraphs.com to measure a player’s worth.