The Scooter

“I’ll take anyway to get into the Hall of Fame. If they want a batboy, I will go in as a batboy.”
Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto

Phil Rizzuto played his entire 13 year Major League career with the New York Yankees. After he retired as a player, he went on to broadcast the Yankee games on radio and television for 40 years. Phil Rizzuto played on ten Pennant winners and seven World Championship teams with the Bronx Bombers. Rizzuto was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1950. He is the only MVP ever to lead his League in sacrifice bunts. “The scooter” only was 5’6″ however he stood very tall when in 1994 when he was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Phil Rizzuto’s last year as a player was 1956. Gold Glove Awards began in 1957 and that is the only reason he did not win several Gold Gloves.

When Phil Rizzuto asked the Brooklyn Dodgers for a tryout when Casey Stengel was the Dodgers’ manager, Stengel said, “Kid, you’re too small.You ought to shine shoes.” Stengel would “eat” those words since he later became Rizzuto’s manager with the Yankees when Rizzuto was one of the best shortstops in baseball. Phil Rizzuto was a great bunter and a terrific clutch hitter. I never got to see him play’ I did love listening to his broadcasts of Yankee games. Everyone with whom I have spoken, who did see him play, raved about what a great shortstop he was. Some people felt the difference in those Yankee and Red Sox teams was the defense Phil Rizzuto provided at shortstop. Great shortstops “hold” teams together. One of the Yankee pitchers, Vic Raschi was asked what his best pitch was. He replied, “Anything hit in Phil Rizzuto’s direction. That says it all.

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One Response to The Scooter

  1. Pete Cava says:

    Phil Rizzuto was an integral part of the great Yankee teams of the 1940s and ’50s. Before kids in New York argued about the merits of Willie, Mickey and the Duke, we haggled over who was the better shortstop — the Scooter or Brooklyn’s Pee Wee Reese.

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