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Phil Rizzuto, 1917-2007
2007-08-14 08:35
by Bob Timmermann

Yankee great Phil Rizzuto passed away Tuesday in West Orange, N.J. He was 89 years old.

Bronx Banter obviously will have more.

For those of us who grew up on the West Coast, we remember Scooter this way.

2007-08-14 09:44:11
1.   Greg Brock
Worst player in the HOF?

I speak no ill of the dead. Merely a question. Holy Cow.

2007-08-14 09:49:46
2.   Bob B
Certainly it isn't Scooter. Halberstam quotes an authority no less than Ted Williams as saying the only difference between the Yankees and The Redsox during his era was Rizzuto.
2007-08-14 09:53:57
3.   Greg Brock
2 A career .273 hitter, with a career .355 slugging, who hit a whopping .246 in his WS appearances?

With all deference to the Splendid Splinter, my favorite baseballer of all time, perhaps he is incorrect.

2007-08-14 10:01:03
4.   Cliff Corcoran
Scooter may not have been wholy deserving of the induction as a player, but he belongs in the Hall in some capacity and he is far from the worst player in the HoF. Far from it. Look around a little.
2007-08-14 10:04:33
5.   Bob Timmermann
The Ghost of Jim Bottomley is heading to Greg Brock's house right now.

Candy Cummings will be there too.

2007-08-14 10:04:45
6.   Greg Brock
4 Fair enough. There are worse.

And Scooter belongs in the HOF in some capacity.

2007-08-14 10:24:08
7.   Jon Weisman
Must mention this must-own:

Samples of Rizzuto's work:

This is very interesting.
Forget the game.
Right here.
Here's a guy can't see.
All right,
Gene Larkin is the NO!
Gene Larkin?
What did he do?
Base on balls.

Forever Young
Bobby Thigpen out there.
Number thirty-seven.
That's the guy in the Peanuts cartoon.
That's a joke.
That guy in Peanuts with Charlie Brown.
He's always dirty.
Oh yeah.
Every day.
Orphan Annie.
You know,
She hasn't aged in thirty-two years.

2007-08-14 10:26:48
8.   unmoderated
a sad day indeed.

i met scooter about 20 years ago at an autograph show in new jersey. my grandfather took me, we used to go to a bunch of those shows back then.

my grandfather was a real schmoozer, and engaged phil in chatter about the old days. one topic lead to another, and before we knew it, the promoters were asking us to leave because we stalled the line for autographs with our hour-plus conversation...

in other words, a real down to earth guy.

also, rirruto?

Those're Z's!

2007-08-14 10:27:55
9.   Eric Enders
Now is the time when I wish my Rizzuto talking keychain hadn't been paved over.
2007-08-14 10:31:34
10.   Josh Wilker
Sad day. He made me happy. As far as his playing days, I wish as a Red Sox fan that he had been on my team.

He can see now paradise by the dashboard light...

2007-08-14 12:09:04
11.   Josh Wilker
If you've got a spare half hour, I highly recommend checking out Scooter's HOF acceptance speech. There's a link to it on the HOF website:

2007-08-14 12:24:58
12.   rbj
For a Sabermetric comparison of HoF shortstops:

22.0 Travis Jackson
19.5 Joe Tinker
18.7 Phil Rizzuto
16.3 Pee Wee Reese
14.1 Luis Aparicio
10.3 Rabbit Maranville
7.7 John Montgomery Ward

Scooter's not the worst, he was a starting player on 7 WS winning teams and he lost 3 years to WWII -- so his ranking could have been higher by a point or two. Remember, in those days shortstops were there for their gloves, not their bats. Enjoy your heavenly cannolis, Scooter.

2007-08-14 13:25:29
13.   bobsbrother
If you've got a spare 30 seconds, Phil has a suggestion:

2007-08-14 13:49:40
14.   DXMachina
Holy cow!

I started watching baseball in 1961, and since I lived outside of New York, my only option was Yankee games. Mel Allen, Red Barber, and Phil were in the booth. It coulda been a lot worse than three hall of famers. The team was pretty good, too, but being a Dodger fan, I didn't appreciate it as much back then as I might have.

2007-08-14 15:32:45
15.   Philip Michaels
"Well that kind of puts a damper on even a Yankees win."
-- Phil Rizutto, announcing the death of Pope Paul VI during a TV broadcast
2007-08-14 15:47:15
16.   Suffering Bruin
I think Rizzuto's career, when combined with his work behind the microphone, adds up to a plaque.
2007-08-14 16:40:46
17.   grandcosmo
If the debate is whether he is actually the worst player in the HoF then he doesn't deserve to be in there.

He was a solid regular on great teams and to justify his inclusion you would have to place a very high premium on intangibles.

2007-08-15 22:09:34
18.   Cliff Corcoran
17 He was actually a five-time All-Star and an MVP on great teams (he won the award in 1950 and finished in the top six two other times). He also would have been a regular Gold Glove winner had the award existed at the time. Again, probably short of the HoF as a player alone, but he was a star, not just a solid regular.

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