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kikibalt
08-14-2007, 12:00 PM
August 14, 2007
BRONX, NEW YORK (TICKER) -- Former New York Yankees shortstop and renowned baseball broadcaster Phil Rizzuto died Tuesday. He was 89.

The Yankees confirmed Rizzuto's death to PA SportsTicker, although the team did not provide any further details. New York radio station WFAN reported that the Hall of Famer died early Tuesday morning.

Nicknamed "The Scooter," Rizzuto helped the Yankees win seven World Series titles from 1941-1953. The diminutive Brooklyn native was a career .273 hitter in parts of 13 seasons - all with the Yankees.

A five-time All-Star, Rizzuto was regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops of his time. Standing at just 5-6, he also was renowned for his bunting ability and speed.

Like many players in the 1940s, Rizzuto served in the United States Navy during World War II, interrupting his career from 1943-1945.

Rizzuto enjoyed his finest season in 1950, when he was named American League MVP. In 155 games that year, he batted a career-best .324 with seven home runs, 66 RBI, 200 hits, 125 runs and 12 stolen bases for the Yankees, who rolled to a four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

After his retirement in 1956, Rizzuto began a 40-year career as a radio and television broadcaster for the Yankees. He became famous for his trademark catch phrase, "Holy Cow!"

Following a long campaign, Rizzuto was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994 by the veterans committee

DscribeDC
08-14-2007, 02:22 PM
Wow, as a kid growing up, I spent many hours in front of the TV watching the Yanks on Ch. 11, WPIX,listening to the Scooter, Bill White and Frank Messer, the best broadcast team in the biz.

Wow, this really hits me hard.

If you ever have a chance to pick up "O, Holy Cow," a book of Rizzuto's more rambling monologues reformatted as poetry, it's one of the driest, funniest reads ever.

For the Scooter, taking out a loan at the great Money Store in the sky, one final tribute: "Hoooooooooly Cow!"

Sharkey
08-14-2007, 02:34 PM
The Scooter and Messer were so great too listen to.. White as well. Loved the Scooter and his stories; dreamt he swallowed a doorknob, traffic on the bridge, Cora and Italian cookies... ground ball to Gagne, two outs... anyway I dreamt I swallowed a doorknob and everyone was trying to turn my stomach.. holy cow White.. it was so real.

DscribeDC
08-14-2007, 04:04 PM
Rizzuto, Harry Caray, etc., were holdovers from an age when teams had their own lovable eccentrics. Now, everybody looks like Joe Buck, like they came straight from Central Casting. Another step in the homogenization of America.

kikibalt
08-14-2007, 05:26 PM
Phil Rizzuto, Yankees' Hall of Fame shortstop, dies at 89
From the Associated Press
10:23 AM PDT, August 14, 2007


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Phil Rizzuto, the Hall of Fame shortstop and broadcaster for the Yankees, was 89.
(AFP)

NEW YORK -- Phil Rizzuto, the Hall of Fame shortstop during the Yankees' dynasty years and beloved by a generation of fans who delighted in hearing him exclaim "Holy cow!" as a broadcaster, died today. He was 89.

His death was confirmed by the Yankees. Rizzuto had been in declining health for several years and was living at a nursing home in West Orange, N.J.

Rizzuto, known as "The Scooter," was the oldest living Hall of Famer. He played for the Yankees throughout the 1940s and '50s, won seven World Series titles, was an AL MVP and played in five All-Star games.

Rizzuto later announced Yankees games for four decades and his No. 10 was retired by baseball's most storied team.

"I guess heaven must have needed a shortstop," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. "He epitomized the Yankee spirit -- gritty and hard charging -- and he wore the pinstripes proudly."

At 5-foot-6, Rizzuto was a flashy player who could always be counted on for a perfect bunt, a nice slide or a diving catch in a lineup better known for its cornerstone sluggers. He played 13 seasons alongside the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle in a career interrupted by Navy service in World War II.

"Phil was a gem, one of the greatest people I ever knew -- a dear friend and great teammate," said Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who frequently visited Rizzuto in his later years.

"When I first came up to the Yankees, he was like a big -- actually, small -- brother to me. He's meant an awful lot to baseball and the Yankees and has left us with a lot of wonderful memories," he said.

Rizzuto was equipped with a productive bat, sure hands and quick feet that earned him his nickname. A leadoff man, he was a superb bunter, used to good advantage by the Yankee teams that won 11 pennants and nine World Series between 1941 and 1956.

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Yogi Berra, right, accepts a light from Phil Rizzuto after Berra handed out cigars to celebrate the birth of his son in 1951.
(AP)

"He was a Yankee all the way," said Indians great Bob Feller, who at 88 became the oldest living Hall of Famer.

"Phil could hit, he could run, he was good on the basepaths and he was a great shortstop. He knew the fundamentals of the game and he got 100 percent out of his ability. He played it hard and he played it fair," he said.

Born in Brooklyn, Rizzuto tried out with the Dodgers and New York Giants when he was 16, but because of his size was dismissed by Dodgers manager Casey Stengel, who told him to "Go get a shoeshine box." He went on to become one of Stengel's most dependable players.

A Rizzuto bunt, a steal and a DiMaggio hit made up the scoring trademark of the Yankees' golden era, and he played errorless ball in 21 consecutive World Series games. DiMaggio said the shortstop "held the team together."

Rizzuto came to the Yankees in 1941 and batted .307 as a rookie. After the war, he returned in 1946 and became the American League MVP in 1950. He batted .324 that season with a slugging percentage of .439 and 200 hits, second most in the league. He also went 58 games without an error, making 288 straight plays.

He led all AL shortstops in double plays three times and had a career batting average of .273 with at least a .930 fielding percentage. He played in five All-Star games.

Rizzuto remembered Aug. 25, 1956, as a day he thought was the "end of the world," the day Stengel released him to make room for clutch-hitting Enos Slaughter in the pennant drive.

Rizzuto then began a second career as a broadcaster, one for which he became at least equally well known. His voice dripped with his native Brooklyn.
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Phil Rizzuto, left, celebrates with teammate Billy Martin after the Yankees won their fifth consecutive World Series by beating the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953.
(AP)
In his decades on the radio and TV, Rizzuto's favorite phrase was "Holy cow!" He trotted it out when calling Roger Maris' record-breaking 61st home run in 1961 and the saying became so much a part of him, the team presented him with a cow wearing a halo when they held a day in his honor in 1985. The cow knocked Rizzuto over and, of course, he shouted, "Holy cow!"

"That thing really hurt," he said. "That big thing stepped right on my shoe and pushed me backwards, like a karate move."

Yankee fans also loved his unusual commentary, often punctuated with the phrase, "What a huckleberry!"

In an age of broadcasters who spout statistics and repeat the obvious, Rizzuto loved to talk about things like his fear of lightning, the style of an umpire's shoes or even the prospect of outfielder Dave Winfield as a candidate for president.

He liked to acknowledge birthdays and anniversaries, read notes from fans, praised the baked delicacies at his favorite restaurant and send messages to old cronies. And if he missed a play, he would scribble "ww" in his scorecard box score. That, he said, meant "wasn't watching."

His popularity was such that at a recent auction a Rizzuto cap embedded with a wad of chewing gum sold for more than $8,000. In the New York area, Rizzuto's antics became a staple for TV ads.

Despite his qualifications, Rizzuto was passed over for the Hall of Fame 15 times by the writers and 11 times by the old-timers committee. Finally, a persuasive speech by Ted Williams pushed Rizzuto into Cooperstown in 1994.

Williams, a member of the committee, argued that Rizzuto was the man who made the difference between the Yankees and his Red Sox. He was fond of saying, "If we'd had Rizzuto in Boston, we'd have won all those pennants instead of New York."

As in his playing days, Rizzuto was overshadowed by the headliners, teammates like DiMaggio, Mantle, Whitey Ford and Berra. All of them reached the Hall of Fame before he did.

The flag at Cooperstown was lowered to half-staff and a laurel was placed around his plaque, as is custom when all Hall of Famers die.

"I never thought I deserved to be in the Hall of Fame," Rizzuto would say. "The Hall of Fame is for the big guys, pitchers with 100 mph fastballs and hitters who sock homers and drive in a lot of runs. That's the way it always has been and the way it should be."

Rizzuto is survived by his wife, Cora, whom he married in 1943; daughters Cindy Rizzuto, Patricia Rizzuto and Penny Rizzuto Yetto; son Phil Rizzuto Jr.; and two granddaughters.

Enswell
08-19-2007, 10:35 AM
Rizzuto, Harry Caray, etc., were holdovers from an age when teams had their own lovable eccentrics. Now, everybody looks like Joe Buck, like they came straight from Central Casting. Another step in the homogenization of America.


Harry Caray also used "Holy Cow!". Anyone know who used it first?