ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Don Zimmer wasn't a fixture in baseball forever. It just seemed that way.
He played alongside Jackie Robinson on the only Brooklyn Dodgers team to win the World Series. He coached Derek Jeter on the New York Yankees' latest dynasty. And his manager once was the illustrious Casey Stengel.
For 66 years, Zimmer was a most popular presence at ballparks all over, a huge chaw often filling his cheek. Everyone in the game seemed to know him, and love him.
Zimmer was still working for the Tampa Bay Rays as a senior adviser when he died Wednesday at 83 in a hospital in nearby Dunedin. He had been in a rehabilitation center since having seven hours of heart surgery in mid-April.
Zimmer started out as a minor league infielder in 1949, hitting powerful shots that earned him the nickname "Popeye." He went on to enjoy one of the longest-lasting careers in baseball history.
Zimmer played on the original New York Mets, saw his Boston Red Sox beaten by Bucky Dent's playoff homer and got tossed to the ground by Pedro Martinez during a brawl.
With the champion Yankees, Zimmer was Joe Torre's right-hand man as the bench coach.
Sterling agrees to sell: Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling agreed Wednesday to sign off on a deal to sell the team he has owned for 33 years to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, bringing the possibility of a resolution to weeks of rumors, uncertainty and looming legal action.
Parker to play: San Antonio guard Tony Parker plans to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on Thursday night.
Parker has been dealing with a left ankle sprain and missed the second half of the Spurs' Western Conference-clinching win in Game 6 of their series against Oklahoma City.
All-NBA team: Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant capped his MVP season by being the lone unanimous choice to the All-NBA first team.
Durant was a first-teamer on all 125 ballots, and made the top squad for the fifth time. Miami's LeBron James got 124 first-team votes on the way to being selected for the eighth time, while the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul earned his fourth first-team selection.
Houston's James Harden and Chicago's Joakim Noah are first-time first-team choices.
Cubs leaving WGN: The Chicago Cubs are ending their partnership with WGN Radio, one of the longest such relationships in broadcast history.
WGN Radio president Jimmy de Castro confirmed Wednesday media reports that the Cubs are leaving the station after this season. The radio station has been the Cubs' radio home for 90 years. The station exercised an opt-out provision in the contract last fall due to falling ratings and revenue. That move followed the Cubs' decision to opt out of their WGN-TV deal to seek better long-term regional TV rights fees.
Tigers lose Iglesias: The Detroit Tigers still haven't solved their dilemma at shortstop, which came about because of an injury to Jose Iglesias.
On Wednesday, general manager Dave Dombrowski ruled out Iglesias for the season -- and the Tigers called up one of their better prospects, hoping he can provide some immediate help.
Detroit recalled Eugenio Suarez from Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday and designated infielder Danny Worth for assignment. The 22-year-old Suarez has hit .302 since being promoted to Toledo.
Kaepernick gets new deal: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has received a new six-year contract extension through the 2020 season.
The team announced the deal Wednesday. The sides had made it a top priority to get a deal done before the start of training camp for one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks.
Since taking over the starting job from Alex Smith midway through the 2011 season, Kaepernick led the 49ers to their first Super Bowl in 18 years after the 2012 season -- losing by three points to Baltimore -- and then to the NFC championship game last season.