PDA

View Full Version : Phil Rizzuto died last night



TOBTTReds
08-14-2007, 11:29 AM
Per ESPN...a true baseball legend.


Phil Rizzuto, the Hall of Fame shortstop who went on to fame for his unique broadcasting style, died late Monday night. 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, nicknamed "The Scooter," was the oldest living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame when he died. He was inducted in 1994 by the Veterans Committee.

Rizzuto, noted as one of the best defensive shortstops in the history of the game, was the American League Most Valuable Player in 1950 and played in five All-Star games. In his MVP season, Rizzuto hit .324 and scored 125 runs.

He played for the New York Yankees from 1941 to 1956. The Yankees won seven World Series titles during Rizzuto's career.

Rizzuto's lifetime batting average was .273. He was second to Boston's Ted Williams in the 1949 MVP balloting.

He went on to be a Yankees broadcaster for more than 40 seasons. His unique style was accented with his famous phrase, "Holy Cow!" when a great play was made.

Rizzuto was on the call when Roger Maris hit his 61st career home run to eclipse the single-season home run record previously held by Babe Ruth.

westofyou
08-14-2007, 11:30 AM
Ok, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker
going here, two down, nobody on, no score,
bottom of the ninth, there's the wind-up and
there it is, a line shot up the middle, look
at him go. This boy can really fly!
He's rounding first and really turning it on
now, he's not letting up at all, he's gonna
try for second; the ball is bobbled out in center,
and here comes the throw, and what a throw!
He's gonna slide in head first, here he comes, he's out!
No, wait, safe--safe at second base, this kid really
makes things happen out there.
Batter steps up to the plate, here's the pitch--
he's going, and what a jump he's got, he's trying
for third, here's the throw, it's in the dirt--
safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base!
He's taking a pretty big lead out there, almost
daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher
glance over, winds up, and it's bunted, bunted
down the third base line, the suicide squeeze in on!
Here he comes, squeeze play, it's gonna be close,
here's the throw, there's the play at the plate,
holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!

NJReds
08-14-2007, 11:36 AM
I grew up listening to Scooter and Bill White broadcast Yankee games on WPIX in NY.

RIP.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ae/Rizzuto_plaque.jpg/200px-Rizzuto_plaque.jpg

princeton
08-14-2007, 11:37 AM
holy cow, he heard one heckuva thunderclap, tried to leave the stadium but just left his body behind

BCubb2003
08-14-2007, 11:38 AM
GO AHEAD, SEAVER

You know,
Some kid wrote me a letter.
You and Murcer,
I know,
Every time Murcer says
I make oh for four and two errors.
Some guy wrote,
Which I haven't gotten yet,
He wrote it to Yankee Stadium,
But by the way,
You're doing the play-by-play, Seaver.
So go ahead.
I was gonna tell you something,
But I forgot what it was.
Go ahead.

From "Oh Holy Cow, The Collected Verse of Phil Rizzuto" by Tom Peyer and Hart Seely

Johnny Footstool
08-14-2007, 11:53 AM
Ok, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker
going here, two down, nobody on, no score,
bottom of the ninth, there's the wind-up and
there it is, a line shot up the middle, look
at him go. This boy can really fly!
He's rounding first and really turning it on
now, he's not letting up at all, he's gonna
try for second; the ball is bobbled out in center,
and here comes the throw, and what a throw!
He's gonna slide in head first, here he comes, he's out!
No, wait, safe--safe at second base, this kid really
makes things happen out there.
Batter steps up to the plate, here's the pitch--
he's going, and what a jump he's got, he's trying
for third, here's the throw, it's in the dirt--
safe at third! Holy cow, stolen base!
He's taking a pretty big lead out there, almost
daring him to try and pick him off. The pitcher
glance over, winds up, and it's bunted, bunted
down the third base line, the suicide squeeze in on!
Here he comes, squeeze play, it's gonna be close,
here's the throw, there's the play at the plate,
holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!

Stop right there!

registerthis
08-14-2007, 11:57 AM
Hi, Phil Rizzuto here for the Money Store.

cincrazy
08-14-2007, 11:58 AM
Phil Rizzuto is to the Yankees what Joe Nuxhall is to the Reds. A beloved player, and then a beloved announcer to many more generations of fans. RIP Scotter.

Cyclone792
08-14-2007, 12:36 PM
RIP, Scooter.

I've gone back and forth on whether or not Rizzuto is a deserving Hall of Famer. I used to believe he wasn't, but recently I've come around on that stance. He did miss three potentially peak seasons serving in the US Navy during WWII at the ages of 25-27, and he was also an outstanding defensive shortstop.

Interestingly, Rizzuto was one of Ty Cobb's favorite players during the 1940s and 1950s. Cobb hated how the game had transformed into more of a power game rather than a small-ball scientific contest. Rizzuto's style of play, however, was a type of throwback style that reminded Cobb of the Dead Ball Era, and Cobb was a big Rizzuto fan because of that.


PHIL RIZZUTO

GIVEN NAME: Fiero Francis Rizzuto
BORN: 9/25/1917 Brooklyn, New York
BAT: R THROW: R HEIGHT: 5'6" WEIGHT: 150 MLB DEBUT: 4/15/1941
CAREER GAMES BY POSITION: 2B: 2 SS: 1647

YEAR TEAM AGE G AB R H 2B 3B HR HR% RBI BB SO SB CS AVG SLG OBA OPS
1941 Yankees 23 133 515 65 158 20 9 3 0.58 46 27 36 14 5 .307 .398 .343 .741
1942 Yankees 24 144 553 79 157 24 7 4 0.72 68 44 40 22 6 .284 .374 .343 .718
1946 Yankees 28 126 471 53 121 17 1 2 0.42 38 34 39 14 7 .257 .310 .315 .625
1947 Yankees 29 153 549 78 150 26 9 2 0.36 60 57 31 11 6 .273 .364 .350 .714
1948 Yankees 30 128 464 65 117 13 2 6 1.29 50 60 24 6 5 .252 .328 .340 .668
1949 Yankees 31 153 614 110 169 22 7 5 0.81 65 72 34 18 6 .275 .358 .352 .711
1950 Yankees 32 155 617 125 200 36 7 7 1.13 66 91 38 12 8 .324 .439 .417 .856
1951 Yankees 33 144 540 87 148 21 6 2 0.37 43 58 27 18 3 .274 .346 .350 .696
1952 Yankees 34 152 578 89 147 24 10 2 0.35 43 67 42 17 6 .254 .341 .337 .678
1953 Yankees 35 134 413 54 112 21 3 2 0.48 54 71 39 4 3 .271 .351 .383 .734
1954 Yankees 36 127 307 47 60 11 0 2 0.65 15 41 23 3 2 .195 .251 .291 .541
1955 Yankees 37 81 143 19 37 4 1 1 0.70 9 22 18 7 1 .259 .322 .369 .691
1956 Yankees 38 31 52 6 12 0 0 0 0.00 6 6 6 3 0 .231 .231 .310 .541
TOTALS 1661 5816 877 1588 239 62 38 0.65 563 650 397 149 58 .273 .355 .351 .706
LG AVERAGE 5901 803 1584 261 59 115 1.95 750 707 585 59 47 .268 .391 .349 .740
POS AVERAGE 5835 785 1540 236 51 68 1.17 625 697 517 60 49 .264 .357 .345 .702

YEAR TEAM RC RCAA RCAP OWP RC/G TB EBH ISO SEC BPA IBB HBP SAC SF GIDP OUTS PA POS
1941 Yankees 70 -1 4 .492 4.97 205 32 .091 .171 .422 0 1 5 0 13 380 548 SS
1942 Yankees 74 5 15 .530 4.70 207 35 .090 .210 .431 0 6 10 0 13 425 613 SS
1946 Yankees 48 -15 -12 .379 3.47 146 20 .053 .155 .358 0 6 7 0 10 374 518 SS
1947 Yankees 76 8 6 .552 4.89 200 37 .091 .215 .430 0 8 9 0 6 420 623 SS
1948 Yankees 57 -13 -11 .409 4.15 152 21 .075 .218 .397 0 2 13 0 6 371 539 SS
1949 Yankees 82 -12 -7 .440 4.48 220 34 .083 .230 .418 0 1 25 0 18 494 712 SS
1950 Yankees 123 33 43 .640 7.38 271 50 .115 .282 .513 0 7 19 0 6 450 734 SS
1951 Yankees 73 3 13 .522 4.57 187 29 .072 .213 .423 0 5 26 0 10 431 629 SS
1952 Yankees 73 -3 7 .479 4.20 197 36 .087 .232 .417 0 5 23 0 9 469 673 SS
1953 Yankees 63 10 18 .575 5.19 145 26 .080 .262 .441 0 4 18 0 6 328 506 SS
1954 Yankees 25 -20 -11 .250 2.45 77 13 .055 .199 .322 0 1 18 2 7 276 369 SS
1955 Yankees 20 -1 4 .477 4.43 46 6 .063 .266 .446 1 3 13 0 2 122 181 SS
1956 Yankees 5 -4 -2 .265 2.81 12 0 .000 .173 .345 0 0 7 0 1 48 65 SS
TOTALS 789 -10 67 .494 4.64 2065 339 .082 .219 .422 1 49 193 2 107 4588 6710
LG AVERAGE 841 0 0 .500 4.95 2307 435 .123 .252 .438 2 28 74 5 146 4588 6714
POS AVERAGE 760 -84 0 .452 4.47 2083 355 .093 .223 .408 1 25 103 4 137 4588 6663

Always Red
08-14-2007, 12:42 PM
Rizzuto had a great year in 1950, didn't he?

I do not mind one bit that Phil Rizzuto is a Hall of Fame SS. The only caveat I have to that is that if he belongs, then Dave Concepcion belongs, too.

The Veteran's Committee voted Scooter in, and that's the only way Davey is going to get in, too.

RIP to one of the legends of the game, both on the field and in the booth, Phil Rizzuto.

wally post
08-14-2007, 12:48 PM
His demeanor as an announcer was so honest - it was as if he were sitting there in the room with you and commenting on ...whatever! Very personal and very funny. Great cat. I wish I had seen him play.

cumberlandreds
08-14-2007, 12:56 PM
Rizzuto had a great year in 1950, didn't he?

I do not mind one bit that Phil Rizzuto is a Hall of Fame SS. The only caveat I have to that is that if he belongs, then Dave Concepcion belongs, too.

The Veteran's Committee voted Scooter in, and that's the only way Davey is going to get in, too.

RIP to one of the legends of the game, both on the field and in the booth, Phil Rizzuto.


I totally agree with you. If he and Pee Wee Reese are in the HOF then Concepcion belongs also. If Davey had played his entire career in NYC I have no doubt he would have been enshrined. RIP to Rizzuto. He was a true legend of a person that helps makes baseball special.

Roy Tucker
08-14-2007, 01:05 PM
Well-written obit at the NY Times...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/14/sports/baseball/14cnd-rizzuto.html?hp

August 14, 2007
Phil Rizzuto, Yankees Shortstop, Dies at 89
By RICHARD SANDOMIR

Phil Rizzuto, the sure-handed Hall of Fame Yankees shortstop nicknamed The Scooter, who punctuated his extended Yankee life as a broadcaster with birthday wishes to nuns and exclamations of “Holy cow!” died today. He was 89. His death was confirmed by the Yankees. Rizzuto played for the Yankees from 1941 to 1956. His departure was abrupt. No longer willing to carry an aging, seldom-used infielder, the team cut him on Old-Timers’ Day. Soon after, he began calling Yankee games for WPIX-TV/Channel 11 and did not leave that role until 1996.

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. He was one of 12 Yankees on teams that swept to five consecutive World Series triumphs, from 1949 to 1953.

He was a 5-foot-6-inch, 150-pound sparkplug who did the little things right, from turning the pivot on a double play to laying down a perfect sacrifice bunt. He left the slugging to powerful teammates like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Tommy Henrich, Charlie Keller and Yogi Berra.

“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.”

His career statistics were not spectacular: a batting average of .273, 38 home runs and 562 runs batted in. But in his best season, 1950, when he hit a career-high .324 and drove in 66 runs, he won the American League’s Most Valuable Player award.

Rizzuto was frequently compared with other shortstops of his era, among them Pee Wee Reese of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Marty Marion of the St. Louis Cardinals. But to DiMaggio, his teammate for eight seasons — each man lost three seasons to military service during World War II — Rizzuto was the best.

“The little guy in front of me,” said DiMaggio, one of the game’s great centerfielders. “He made my job easy. I didn’t have to pick up so many ground balls.”

A major league career was not foreordained. One of five children of Rose and Philip Rizzuto Sr., a construction foreman and trolley motorman, Fiero Francis Rizzuto was born and grew up in Brooklyn and later in the Glendale neighborhood of Queens, where the family moved when he was 12.

While attending Richmond Hill High School, he tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but the team’s manager, Casey Stengel, told him he was too small. The New York Giants told him to get lost. But Stengel’s rejection — “Go get a shoeshine box,” the manager told him — was the most vivid.

“When he became the Yankee manager in 1949, I reminded him of that, but he pretended he didn’t remember,” Rizzuto said of Stengel. “By ’49, I didn’t need a shoebox, anyway. The clubhouse boy at the Stadium shined my Yankee spikes every day.”

The Yankees signed him in 1937 and sent him to their Class D minor league team in Bassett, Va. Stopping for a meal in Richmond, Rizzuto was served grits for the first time.

“I didn’t know what to do with them, so I put them in my pocket,” he said in the hyperbolic style that would later make the New York Post sportswriter Milton Gross describe him as “a storyteller of Munchausen proportions.”

A mistreated left leg injury during his stint in Virginia — he had stepped in a gopher hole — nearly led to amputation; or maybe it didn’t, depending on how Rizzuto told the tale. “They had to cut part of the muscle out of my leg because it was infested with gangrene,” he said, “and actually that was a break for me because I used to be so fast when I was a kid, I’d run by the ground balls, and this slowed me just enough so that I could make the ball.”

His appearance at spring training with the Yankees in 1941 made the pitcher Lefty Gomez wonder why the team had summoned a “Lilliputian,” but Rizzuto established himself after a rocky start, replaced the veteran Frank Crosetti and hit .307 in his rookie season.

In addition to becoming a bulwark of the Yankees’ infield, forming superior double-play combinations with second basemen Gerry Priddy, Joe Gordon and Jerry Coleman (who in the 1960’s would join Rizzuto in the broadcast booth), Rizzuto developed into an eccentric — funny, superstitious, afraid of thunder and the target of pranks.

When the tradition was for fielders to leave their gloves in the field when they came in to bat, Rizzuto would often return to the field to find a mouse, a snake or a rat wedged in the glove fingers.

Two plays in 1951 came to symbolize Rizzuto’s career.

In the first, Rizzuto was at bat against Bob Lemon of the Cleveland Indians. With DiMaggio on third base, Rizzuto took Lemon’s first pitch and argued the called strike with the umpire. That gave him time to grab his bat from both ends, the sign to DiMaggio that a squeeze play was on for the next pitch. But DiMaggio broke early, surprising Rizzuto. With Joltin’ Joe bearing down on him, Rizzuto laid down a bunt on a pitch that Lemon threw at his head.

“If I didn’t bunt, the pitch would’ve hit me right in the head,” Rizzuto said. “I bunted it with both feet off the ground, but I got it off toward first base.”

DiMaggio scored the winning run, and Lemon angrily hurled the ball at the press box. Stengel called it “the greatest play I ever saw.”

Later that year, an incident during Game 3 of the World Series against the New York Giants provided Rizzuto with an enemy he could fulminate about for the rest of his life.

With one out in the fifth inning, the Giants’ Eddie Stanky drew a walk against the Yankees’ pitcher, Vic Raschi. The next batter was Alvin Dark, and the Yankees intercepted a hit-and-run sign to him. Berra, the catcher, signaled a pitchout, and his throw to Rizzuto at second base beat Stanky by 10 feet. But as Rizzuto waited with the ball in his glove, Stanky slid and kicked the ball into center field with his right foot. He ran to third. Rizzuto was charged with an error, and the Giants scored five unearned runs.

“I was nonchalanting it,” Rizzuto admitted sheepishly. “I was looking at the TV camera.”

Rizzuto was shocked when the Yankees released him in 1956 to sign the outfielder Enos Slaughter. But he soon accepted a job in the Yankee radio and TV booth with Mel Allen and Red Barber, two towering figures in sportscasting. “You’ll never last,” Howard Cosell, then a radio sportscaster, told him. “You look like George Burns and you sound like Groucho Marx.”

Three days into his new career, Rizzuto told his wife, Cora, that he wanted to quit — but he stayed, despite periodic threats to resign, until 1996. To those who heard him exclaim “Holy cow!” for a play (or a cannoli) that excited him, or chide a player as a “huckleberry” for committing an error, Rizzuto was a beloved, idiosyncratic voice despite his lack of professional credentials.

Rizzuto met Cora Ellenborg in 1942, after substituting for DiMaggio as a speaker at a communion breakfast in Newark. He had been invited to her home afterward for coffee and cake by her father, a Newark fire chief. “I fell in love so hard I didn’t go home,” Rizzuto recalled. He rented a hotel room nearby for a month to be near her.

Mrs. Rizzuto survives him, as do their daughters, Patricia, Cynthia and Penny; a son, Phil Jr., and two grandchildren.

Over four decades in the Yankee announcing booth, he transformed himself from a conventional announcer with a distinctly New York voice into a comic presence whose broadcasts often diverged from actual game-calling.

The first thing he asked Mel Allen was whether he could use the phrase “Holy cow!” Years later, Harry Caray, another singular baseball announcer, asked Rizzuto to stop using the expression. Rizzuto refused, saying he had adopted it in high school at his baseball coach’s suggestion to replace profanity with cleaner words.

When the Yankees celebrated him with a day in his honor in 1985, retiring his uniform No. 10, the team presented him with a cow, which promptly stepped on his foot.

Rizzuto’s game commentary vied for time with anniversary wishes and confirmation congratulations. He never used the first names of his partners at WPIX-TV — they were “Coleman,” “Murcer,” “White,” “Messer,” “Seaver,” or “Cerone,” never Jerry, Bobby, Bill, Frank, Tom or Rick. Listeners heard about his wife (he called her “my bride”), an employment appeal for his son, Scooter Jr., reports about his golf game or exultations about a new Italian dish.

Rizzuto’s ramblings and pro-Yankee sentiments maddened detractors, who felt he paid too little attention to the game. But fans adored Rizzuto as they would a delightful uncle, and colleagues were fond of recalling his scorecard notation of “W.W.,” for “Wasn’t Watching.”

Rizzuto often left a game at Yankee Stadium before its conclusion to beat the traffic over the George Washington Bridge. As one game headed into extra innings, he asked Messer, “Want a cup of coffee?” Messer nodded. But Rizzuto was gone, to his home in New Jersey. As he entered the broadcast booth the next day, Rizzuto tapped Messer on the shoulder and said, “Here’s your coffee.”

Rizzuto’s playing credentials failed to get him elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., for many years. “I’ll take any way to get in,” he joked. “If they want a batboy, I’ll go in as a batboy.”

But in 1994, he was voted in by the Hall’s Veterans Committee, which reconsiders candidates rejected by writers. Friends like Yogi Berra, Bill White and Pee Wee Reese sat on the committee.

Rizzuto resigned from Channel 11 abruptly in August 1995, distraught that he had remained to broadcast a game at Fenway Park rather than join former teammates at Mickey Mantle’s funeral in Dallas. Watching the services on television from the booth, he said: “I took it hard and knew I made a big mistake. I got more upset as the game went on and left in the fifth. They tried to drag me back, but I wouldn’t.”

But he returned in 1996 for a final season, persuaded by fans, Mantle’s sons and George M. Steinbrenner III, the principal owner of the Yankees.

Through his final season, Rizzuto remained true to his style. Discussing a late-night rerun of “Seinfeld,” he called it “the first time since my honeymoon that I’ve gone to sleep with a smile on my face.” At his Hall of Fame induction, he explained the anatomical roots for his brand of commentary.“My bride again told me that the reason I got in so much trouble: ‘When you get a thought, it’s supposed to travel through your brain. You got a little trap door back here and then you say, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” O.K., and you drop the thing.’

“She says my trap door is open constantly, so whatever I say could come out before I can think about it.”

princeton
08-14-2007, 01:10 PM
Rizzuto had a great year in 1950, didn't he?.

anabolic steroids HAD been thought to have been first done by an athlete (weightlifter) in 1954, but Rizzuto's year makes you wonder, doesn't it?

;)

Cyclone792
08-14-2007, 01:14 PM
Rizzuto had a great year in 1950, didn't he?

I do not mind one bit that Phil Rizzuto is a Hall of Fame SS. The only caveat I have to that is that if he belongs, then Dave Concepcion belongs, too.

The Veteran's Committee voted Scooter in, and that's the only way Davey is going to get in, too.

RIP to one of the legends of the game, both on the field and in the booth, Phil Rizzuto.

Yep, Concepcion and Rizzuto were very similar players statistically and arguing against Rizzuto for the Hall is kind of like arguing against Concepcion for the Hall. I'd put Concepcion, Rizzuto, and Mazeroski all in under the distinction that they're all among the greatest players ever defensively at those positions who also hit a little bit during their careers.

Comparing Concepcion and Rizzuto is also very interesting.

I'm not sure who was the greater defensive shortstop between the two, or if there's any way to even discern who may have been greater than the other. I never saw either one play, and contemporary reports suggest they were both outstanding (anybody on RZ see both play?). Defensive win shares awards both with an A+ grade defensively too. It's probably a case where Reds fans would argue Concepcion was the greater defensive shortstop and Yankees fans would argue Rizzuto was the greater defensive shortstop. That means it's it's probably somewhat of a coin flip.

Offensively, Concepcion did have more career value than Rizzuto as he played in 800 more games than the Scooter, though if one gave Rizzuto WWII credit that gap would be cut in half.

I think the biggest difference between the two players is Rizzuto's 1950 season. For one season, Phil Rizzuto was the best player in all of baseball and very much deserved that AL MVP Award, IMO. As great as Concepcion was, he never did have a season like the Scooter's 1950 campaign. If there was a tie-breaker between those two guys, that 1950 season would be it.

But I still don't think that 1950 season alone would be enough to separate Rizzuto and Concepcion in terms of Cooperstown. They were still both similar enough players that if one belongs, so does the other, IMO.

LoganBuck
08-14-2007, 01:50 PM
Does anyone find a little odd that ESPN played the images on Phil Rizzuto day when he got knocked over by a cow, the day before he dies?

cumberlandreds
08-14-2007, 02:33 PM
While looking at my e-mail I saw my daily mail from baseballlibrary.com on what happened on this date in baseball history. When looking at it I saw that Pee Wee Reese also died on this date in 1999. What an irony for the two rival shortstops of their time to pass away on the same date.

Topcat
08-14-2007, 06:58 PM
When I think of Rizzuto I think of the bobble head thing in Seinfeld that shot high in the air when George was on the Jack hammer.

RIP Scooter , the world lost a great soul last night.

MrCinatit
08-14-2007, 07:48 PM
May he rest in peace.

Ironically, last night, I was watching the Seinfeld episode where George lost his Rizzuto key chain in a pot hole. A classic, to be sure.

deltachi8
08-14-2007, 10:11 PM
Hey you huckelberries....

I'll miss ya scooter, in the days before i had cable, getting Channel 31 in Rochester NY carrying the WPIX feeds was like gold - even for the a non-yankee fan like me.