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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Holy cow

Another voice from my youth has been stilled. I'm too young to remember seeing "the Scooter" play the game, but he brought us hundreds -- indeed, thousands -- of broadcasts of the Yankee contests we loved so much. Condolences to his family, friends, and fans.

Comments (5)

Never heard him call a game. But fondly remember is sports news broadcasts on CBS radio during the 50s and 60s.

i grew up in Jersey City in the 70's and 80's and even though i am a Mets fan, the sound of Rizzuto's voice was always special to me. i loved the guy.

i remember when one of my uncles visited us from out of town after having grown up in Jersey, too, this must have been in 1987 or so, and we watched a Mets game together and joked about how confused Ralph Kiner sounded. he said, "You think he's bad? There was this old guy who called Yankees games when I was a kid who was so confused all the time, you'd have thought he was drunk all the time! That guy was a fossil." I said, "What was his name?" Of course he said, "Phil Rizzuto." He couldn't believe Philly was still calling games.

My favorite was that old highlight that Warner Wolf used to show every once in awhile, where Phil and Bill White are doing the intro, and Phil says, "Welcome to New York Yankee baseball! I'm Bill White and...no, wait a minute," and White loses it and starts laughing uncontrollably.

The heyday was in the '60s, with Mel Allen, Phil Rizzuto and Red Barber calling the play-by-play. They'd switch around between TV and radio during the game. What a lineup, almost as good as the Yankee team itself.

I always thought the Scooter styled himself as understudy of Pee Wee Reese. (Onetime second baseman on the Yankee Clipper's team, and in broadcast paired with colorful inarticulate Dizzy Dean.)

Like Yogi said, it was deja vu all over again.

Our father always said that Phil Rizutto was "an average player on great teams". In a strange twist of fate, we were in a luxury box at Yankee Stadium in the 80's, when Phil jumped over a wall into our box, apparently to avoid someone in Steinbrenner's box.Daddy got Phil to pose for a picture with him, with the field as a background.

Once the film was developed, Daddy went to work and bragged to his fellow truck drivers that he was a lifelong friend of Phil's, and in fact, played shortstop on a team with Phil, who played 2nd base, as the inferior player. Even had the Yankee Stadium picture to back up his story of lifetime friendship.

To two shortstops and storytellers, rest in peace.

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