A sad day

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Phil Rizzuto, Yankees Shortstop, Dies at 89

He was a gentleman. I often find myself drawn to the lights or sounds of ballgames. I just love them. Once upon a time, approximately 25 years ago, I was walking around NYC and came to Central Park where I heard the sounds of a ballgame. I tracked it down and there, sitting a folding table, microphone in hand, was Phil Rizzuto doing the play-by-play for a Little League game. I don't imagine that was anything special to a man like Mr. Rizzuto. It was, however, very special to me.

Rizzuto played an integral role on the dynastic Yankees before and after World War II. He was a masterly bunter and defensive specialist for teams that steamrolled to 10 American League pennants and nine World Series championships...

“I hustled and got on base and made the double play,” he said of his role. “That’s all the Yankees needed in those days.”

There are baseball afficianados who do not believe Phil Rizzuto worthy of his place in Hall of Fame. I am not one of them. The NY Yankees, especially of that era, would not have kept him if he weren't the best available; he hustled, got on base, and turned the DP as well as the very best of his contemporaries. Any F6 who earned nine World Series rings deserves his place in the Hall of Fame.

So far, this is the article that I think captures Phil Rizzuto best (at least to those of us who knew him only as a baseball legend and beloved sportscaster).


Rick Ballard said...

Thanks for that link, Knuck. I "knew" Rizzuto as an announcer and I recall him from the '61 Maris/Mantle home run derby. He wasn't exactly "fair and balanced" when he called a Yankee game but he was damn near as good as Dizzy Dean.

I quit watching or listening to sports broadcasts about 20 years ago and the main reason was the lack of people like Rizzuto - he loved his game and the love came through as clear as a bell.

John J. Coupal said...

I grew up in suburban NYC. I remember listening to "It's Sports Time with Phil Rizzuto" on radio in the late 40s and early 50s.

His descriptions of baseball that I thought was boring, made the sport exciting.

He turned into as excellent a broadcaster as he was a shortstop.