Phillip Francis Rizzuto
Born: Sept. 25, 1917 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Died: Aug. 13, 2007 in West Orange, N.H.
Debut: 1941 | Pos: SS
H: 5'6" | W: 160 | B: R | T: R
>> Visit the PHIL RIZZUTO. biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
Phil Rizzuto, who followed up a Hall of Fame playing career with a stellar career as a baseball announcer, died on Aug. 13, 2007. He was 89.
In a tribute to "Scooter," the New York Yankees will ewar his retired No. 10 on their uniforms for the rest of the 2007 season.
He was the oldest living Baseball Hall of Famer. His plaque at Cooperstown said he "overcame diminutive size." The 5-foot-6 shortstop was the part of World Series champions with the New York Yankees. He was named American League MVP in 1950 and he was a five-time All-Star (1942, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953).
He hit .273 in his career with 38 home runs, 563 RBI and 149 stolen bases. He scored 877 runs. IN 1950, he hit .324 with seven home runs, 66 RBI and 12 stolen bases.
A statement from Yankees owner George Steinbrenner paid tribute to the New York legend. "I guess heaven must have needed a shortstop. He epitomized the Yankee spirit -- gritty and hard charging -- and he wore the pinstripes proudly."
Rizzuto played in nine World Series, including wins in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953. He hit .246 in 183 at-bats with 2 home runs and 8 RBI.
Rizzuto spent four decades as an announcer for the Yankees. His game-calling style focused on stories over statistics. If he missed a play during a game, he would scribble "ww" on his scorecard which stood for "wasn't watching."
Fans loved his catchphrase as much as his stories. He made "Holy Cow" famous in New York just as Harry Caray had made it in St. Louis and Chicago. Rizzuto used that famous phrase when he called Roger Maris' record-breaking 61st home run.
And "Huckleberry" became the expression that Rizzuto used to describe players who he wasn't a fan of.
Rizzuto, according to reports, had been in declining health and had pneumonia
Rizzuto was passed over for Hall of Fame induction 15 times by writers and 11 times by the members of the Veterans Committee. That's when the Yankees' shortstop received an assist from an unlikely source.
"It we'd had Rizzuto in Boston, we'd have won all those pennants instead of New York," said Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams.
When he was finally inducted in 1994, Rizzuto was humble about entry into the Hall of Fame.
"I never thought I deserved to be in the Hall of Fame," he said. "The Hall of Fame is for the big guys, pitchers with 100 mph fastballs and hitters who sock homers and drive in a lot of runs. That's the way it always has been and the way it should be."