Shortstop for the New York Yankees during the late 40s-mid 50s glory years. From what I understand (never having seen him play, you know) he's my kind of ballplayer - great glove, a (just) good enough bat to keep people interested. Didn't have any great physical attributes - 5'6, no cannon for an arm, good (but not true basestealing) speed - he made up for it with intelligent play. Made all the routine plays with a minimum of errors, and the occasional flashy play too. Not that great of a batsman, but you didn't want him hitting while someone was on-base - he was a hell of a bunter (hey, it's an important skill!) and he usually led the league in no-glory sacrifice hits.

He spent most of his playing career overshadowed by crosstown rival Pee Wee Reese, who was as good a fielder and a much better hitter. Even when both men were in the Navy during WWII, Reese was shortstop of the official Navy team - Rizzuto was moved to third base. Rizzuto did one-up Pee Wee once - in 1950, after a (totally out-of-character) incredible offensive year (.324, 200 hits), he won the AL MVP. Reese never won the MVP - he was a perennial also-ran.

Later kicked upstairs to the announcement booth, where he alternately dazzled and dulled listeners for years.

Elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee after 11 years on the ballot - he got little respect from the writers.

"I heard the doctors revived a man after being dead for four-and-a-half minutes. When they asked what it was like being dead, he said it was like listening to New York Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto during a rain delay."

- David Letterman

The Scooter. The Yankees' #10, in a long baseball career spanning the end of the Gehrig Era and the prime of Mantle's. His slight build epitomized the look of the pre-Ripken shortstop. Went on to an even longer career doing Yankees games on WPIX-TV in NYC - a sometimes-spacy announcer so down-home, he was like an electronic uncle; he spoke in his own voice (a style lampooned by friend and fan Billy Crystal), not in broadcast-school cadences. He was the "Holy Cow!" man, for those of us east of the Mississippi.

(under construction, disco)

Rizzuto's play-by-play is featured in Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light", as rounding the bases is a metaphor for sex.

One of his most famous quirks was calling his broadcast partners "oh, you huckleberry!" when agitated. He actually used to be a good broadcaster as far as being observant and knowing his stuff. As the years went on, he went more to his usual schtick, such as wishing happy birthday to random viewers: "Oh Murcer...Ann Rizzo is 74 years old today! Happy birthday to her. Oh, look at that! Line shot up the middle...a base hit! Oh, we got a rally...I better find some more birthdays!"

During Phil Rizzuto Day at Yankee Stadium a few years back, he was presented with a steer ("holy cow!").

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