August 14, 2007

Ballplayer: , poet, musician, pitchman [youtube], quotable broadcaster, Phil Rizzuto passed today. He was the oldest living Hall of Famer whose Induction speech was unforgettable. He was also the baseball voice for generations of Yankees fans, and he will be sorely missed.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw to baseball at 12:00 PM - 21 comments

This huckleberry is a bit choked up today. I knew the Scooter as a player (by reputation via my dad), as a broadcaster (from birth until he "retired" in 1995) and as a Hall of Famer. My grandmother had a crush on him and would watch every Yankee game in part just to hear him. One of the warmest moments of my life was introducing my dad to him. Even though I knew for some time that this day was imminent, it doesn't make it any easier to think he's gone. Sad day.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 12:04 PM on August 14

I'm happy you beat me to it. I had the same idea, but would never have put together such a great collection of links (especially since YouTube is blocked at work and I wouldn't be able to see if they have any Money Store promos). Your speech link seems to have been garbled. I think this is it. Who's the oldest HoFer now?

posted by yerfatma at 12:05 PM on August 14

to paraphrase the man himself, this kind of thing puts a damper on even a Yankee win. i've been tearing up all day. which is strange because i didn't even do that when my grandfather died. but then again i probably spent my time listening to Rizzuto than i did to my grandfather. Who's the oldest HoFer now? HofFer: former American League president Lee MacPhail HofF player: Bobby Doerr

posted by goddam at 12:17 PM on August 14

My condolences to Yankee fans. I'll be there tomorrow in person to give them to you as well.

posted by jasonspaceman at 12:42 PM on August 14

Thanks for all the links. I must admit that Rizzuto is a Hall of Famer I know very little about, presumably because his stat line only tells part of the story about his contributions as a player and because I assume a big part of his contribution to the game occurred after his playing days were over (but went unnoticed by me as a non-Yankees fan and someone that doesn't live in that part of the country). Big loss for the game and for Yankees fans in particular.

posted by holden at 01:59 PM on August 14

I know who Phil was, but I always remember him for the Money Store ads. (there you go, yerfatma) .

posted by scully at 02:46 PM on August 14

. A specific childhood memory is brought to my mind today. Being about 10 years old, at grandma's house in Mamaroneck, watching the Yankees on WPIX. Scooter was announcing. My Uncle Eddie, who, like Rizzuto, served in WWII, had the volume to 11. His hearing was shot from being near artillary. All the while, Eddie jingled loose change in his pocket mindlessly. Now, the three people important to this memory have passed on.

posted by msacheson at 02:49 PM on August 14


posted by tommytrump at 04:11 PM on August 14

My favorite Rizzuto story is in the Newsday obit: Former National League president Bill White, Rizzuto's broadcaster partner and friend for years ... asked to look at Rizzuto's scoreboard and saw the notation WW. "I asked him what does that mean and he said, 'Wasn't watching.'"

posted by SummersEve at 05:05 PM on August 14

Scooter was old-school baseball, old-school Yankee, old-school Italian, and old-school lovable mensch. A great guy, and a credit to what baseball could be, and hopefully will be again. Just gotta love the game. And, of course, the Money Store.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 06:35 PM on August 14

The only sports souvenir I have is a baseball autographed by Phil form the late '60s/early '70s. Didn't meet him but his wife was a regular at my mom's (women's clothing) boutique and when she heard about me she showed up the next time with the signed ball. Very cool.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:32 PM on August 14

He played the game hard, skillfully, and to the very best of his ability. As a Bostonian, I hated him as a reflex action, but that has to stay between the foul lines. His broadcasts were entertaining, a bit overblown in the excitement department, but never phony and always accurate. Somehow I can hear him at the Pearly Gates saying, "HOLY COW, what a ballpark."

posted by Howard_T at 07:52 PM on August 14

Just yesterday I was reading the wikipedia article on Scooter, never knew how many World Series he was a part of. Truly a great player, awesome contact hitter and master of the bunt as well as being a legendary broadcaster. Maybe know he can meet that pious bovine he was always referencing.

posted by HATER 187 at 08:28 PM on August 14

Some quotes in response to Rizzuto's passing. The Yankees got pasted today by the Orioles, and I think it was almost a more fitting tribute than a Yankee victory would have been. The Yanks got blown out a lot during the Rizzuto broadcast era, and those were the games when his eccentric broadcast style stepped most strongly to the forefront. In games like today's, as the Yanks fell further and further behind, Rizzuto pulled out more good luck birthdays and anniversaries, and broke into more of his irrelevant diatribes about garlic pills, Italian bakeries, old baseball stories, and on and on. He made games like tonight's so much more tolerable. Good lord, do I ever miss him.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 10:15 PM on August 14

In games like today's, as the Yanks fell further and further behind, Rizzuto pulled out more good luck birthdays and anniversaries, and broke into more of his irrelevant diatribes about garlic pills, Italian bakeries, old baseball stories, and on and on exactly. he also would've on the bridge by the 8th inning. i got choked up during the moment of silence and the video tributes at the Stadium. we also included Scooter in roll call tonight. i guess it sounds silly to be emotional over someone I've never met, but like i said before, i probably spent more time listening to his broadcasts than i did with some memebers of my own family.

posted by goddam at 11:05 PM on August 14

he was a great man that people would listen to the gmae just to hear is voice. I will miss him along with many other fans

posted by luke90 at 11:23 PM on August 14

we also included Scooter in roll call tonight. That is awesome. Work ended up keeping me from the TV tributes tonight, but Sterling and Waldman had plenty of opportunities to share Rizzuto stories tonight. What impressed me the most was Sterling's knowledge of the broadcast rotation in the '70s. Bill White, Frank Messer and Rizzuto would rotate every three innings, with two on TV and one on radio. Sterling confirmed what I had long suspected, but was slow to state publicly since I only heard him as a child and had nobody to which I could compare him -- he said that Rizzuto put aside all the frivolities when he was on the radio and broadcast the game as well as any radio broadcaster, giving all the detail necessary to the viewer. i guess it sounds silly to be emotional over someone I've never met As someone who did meet him several times, I can say it was not really necessary to evoke that kind of response. The man you heard was 100% the man he was in person -- there was no act. If you met him, you would feel as though you had done so many times before.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 11:38 PM on August 14

I never got a chance to hear him do a game on TV or the radio, due to location. However, after reading some of the links provided by you guys on this thread, It appears that I have missed one of baseballs best ever. His HOF induction speech says plenty about him as a person. I am very sorry for the loss that all of you Yankee fans, and the Rizzuto family have experienced.

posted by jojomfd1 at 01:08 AM on August 15

I spent my childhood wishing that just once there could've been a way to pair him up with Ralph Kiner in the booth, perhaps for a Mayor's Trophy Game. R.I.P. -- to Phil and another chunk of my youth.

posted by ajaffe at 07:33 AM on August 15

I can remember hearing Scooter calling the game and sounding like he was talking just to me. I have never been a Yankees fan but I sure as hell was a huge Phil Rizzuto fan. My favorite Scooter moment didn't really even involve him. It was on an episode of 'Seinfeld' where George Costanza had a keychain of a Phil Rizzuto doll that would say "Holy Cow" and he got it buried under a pothole while a construction crew were working. Great episode. .

posted by BornIcon at 08:27 AM on August 15

I was lucky enough to have met Rizzuto while in Oakland several years back. I was young, and he was still doing games with Messer and White, and when he came outside, everyone was running around for autographs from all these other clowns, and they didn't recognize Rizzuto. Phil laughed about it, but we didn't mind a bit. It gave us a chance to spend a few minutes with him, talking about where we were from (he knew where it was, of course), and other things. Just a nice, nice guy, and it's sad he's gone. A great spokesman for the game of baseball.

posted by dyams at 10:30 AM on August 15

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