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Huckleberries
2007-08-14 20:36
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

For those of us who grew up listening to Phil Rizzuto during the lean years (be it the days of Horace Clarke or Stump Merrill) it seemed oddly fitting that the Yankees got their clocks cleaned last night, allowing Michael Kay and Ken Singleton to reminisce about Scooter uninhibited by compelling game action. In the seventh inning, with the Yankees already trailing by the eventual final of 12-0, Kay shared the fact that the Yankee booth had received a memorial box of cannolis from one of Scooter's favorites, Artuso Pastry in the Bronx. That set Kay and Singleton off on remembrances of Scooter during which they talked straight through a pitching change with hardly a mention of the on-field action until Kay caught himself as the reliever warmed up:

". . . he was such a student of Yankee history and he knew exactly what was going on . . . and, by the way, this, I feel like Phil, the Orioles just changed pitchers, they brought in Paul Shuey . . . but, he was such a student of Yankee history . . ."

And so forth. In general, YES did a great job honoring Rizzuto, compiling several clip packages, including a hilarious collection of his famous on-air antics supplemented by additional clips scattered throughout the broadcast. They even replaced the commercial break in the middle of the first inning with an excellent montage of Rizzuto's playing career. It's one thing to pay lip service, but by skipping that break and the break that would have come during Shuey's warmup pitches, YES showed that they were willing to put Rizzuto's memory in front of the bottom line for a night, which, in this day and age, may be the classiest move of all.

As for the game, spot-starter Jeff Karstens got rocked and bounced after throwing 74 pitches and allowing five runs in just three innings, four of them scoring on a third-inning grand slam by Aubrey Huff. Jim Brower was just as bad in his two-plus innings of work. He let two runs in on his own, then left the bases loaded with no outs for Ron Villone, who finished the job by allowing all three of Browers' bequeathed runners to score and adding a solo homer by Kevin Millar in the following frame. With the pen otherwise empty, Kyle Farnsworth and Luis Vizcaino turned in 1-2-3 frames to finish things off. The Yankee offense, which had scored seven or more runs in ten straight home games prior to last night, one short of the franchise record, managed just two hits off Daniel Cabrera and none off of his two relievers, Shuey and Rob Bell, but walked nine times only to strand all 11 runners without so much as a double play or caught stealing. Only one Yankee got as far as third base all night. If ever there was a night to leave early to beat the traffic.

Comments (63)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-08-14 21:35:51
1.   monkeypants
The montage of his playing career was very nice. If one thing sorta bugged me about all the shared memories, it was that Scooter was reduced at times to parody of himself--a cannoli eating, somewhat nutty uncle who spent whole broadcasts making bloopers.

I personally would have liked to see and hear more about his playing career (13 years, multiple all star, and MVP), about his years of military service, and more about his serious announcing. Maybe I'm wrong, but as a kid I remember a rather more 'straight' Rizzuto, who called a pretty good game on the radio. He was always Scooter, but it seems to me that the antics became amplified in his later years.

Anyway, my main point is that almost 90 years of life--a long career, service to his country, devotion to his wife, and a lot of historic moments--lurk behind the now more famous goofiness.

2007-08-14 21:41:16
2.   Cliff Corcoran
1 Kay did stress during that 7th inning ramble that Rizzuto was a very good game announcer when the action dictated it. He praised his announcing and was seconded by Singleton, saying he should be in the HoF as an announcer as well (I agree). YES showed his Yankeeography after the game, which focuses far more on his playing career.
2007-08-14 21:50:39
3.   Cliff Corcoran
1 As for his military service, however, he was in the navy and had chronic sea sickness. He was, in his own words, "the worst sailor who ever had a sailor suit on." In his Hall of Fame speech he talked about giving his gun and ammo away only to find out later that doing so could have gotten him court marshalled.

His relationship with Cora, however, I think was perhaps the greatest thing about his life. Sixty-four years of marriage, I believe it was, and a deep, unwavering love throughout them all, you could just hear it in his voice.

2007-08-14 22:05:48
4.   monkeypants
2 Thanks--I was tuning Kay out by the seventh, so I missed some of the details. It just seemed like most of the clips they showed involved Scooter making some blunder or cracking up on camera. As for his Yankeeography, I don't have YES (I watch the games on MLB.tv)--too bad, I would like to have seen that.
2007-08-15 00:59:00
5.   Shaun P
4 I think the Rizzuto Yankeeography is part of one of the sets that's been released on DVD, so you could see it that way.

Its still hard to believe he's gone.

2007-08-15 01:00:38
6.   thelarmis
4 monkeypants -- i don't have YES, either. the Rizzuto Yankeeography is on Vol. 2. there are 4 3dvd Yankeeography sets and they're all awesome! i highly reccomend them. you can find them for decent prices at deepdiscountdvd.com, or somewhere similar. i have NO idea why they stopped releasing them, i really really wish they would start up again.

each volume has 6 players. 3 per dvd, plus a bonus dvd featuring extra footage of all 6 players...

2007-08-15 01:01:40
7.   thelarmis
ah, shaun beat me to it!

i took out Vol. 2 today and will watch it again soon...

2007-08-15 03:30:15
8.   JL25and3
I was at the game, so I didn't have the benefit of hearing Kay and Singleton reminisce. So I was disappointed that the video montage in the first inning didn't include any audio from his broadcasts. It would have been nice to hear one good "Holy cow!" home run call.

It wouldn't even have to be goofy - the Maris call would have been great.

2007-08-15 03:47:24
9.   joe in boston
Great write up as usual, we'll all miss the Scooter. I loved the old clips on TV - I was struck by- 1) how short he was 2) how hard he played 3) how fast he was 4) how much he choked up on the bat 5) great bunter. Sorry to state all the obvious too.

6 thanks for the info, I also just have mlb.tv and will look to buy those.

Tough loss, terrible game = we gave it away. Oh well, a nice tribute to the Scooter would have been to leave early, grab a cannoli and go to bed early !

2007-08-15 04:23:14
10.   The Mick 536
Not criticizing anyone or anything, but the discussion of Scooter's career on the field has been soft. He played on some pretty great teams, next to some big name players. Could use some comments from the survivors-Jerry Coleman, Gil Macdougald, Whitey Ford, Andy Carey, Yogi, etc.

Let go ignominiously in August of the 1956 season. The Yankees were 9.5 ahead. He hadn't played much.

Loved him and Bill White together. One smart. The other spacey. Its a stretch to say he called the games well. He cheered more than he announced. Thought that he didn't stand up for Red Barber or Mel Allen.

Lost some big names this year-Bauer/Boyer. The team should wear black stripes for all of them.

2007-08-15 05:13:42
11.   joe in boston
Finally, a good article by Lupica:

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2007/08/15/2007-08-15_brooklyn_kid_turned_bronx_icon_made_us_f-1.html

2007-08-15 05:23:30
12.   ChrisS
Well, if nothing else, the game last night tuaght us that Villone, Karstens, and Brower really don't need to be pitching at the ML level. I've seen more than enough of Brower. I don't care if he can pitch everyday for three innings.

As for Scooter's miscues and whatnot, I can kinda understand, but when an announcer gets everything right and is smooth, typically people don't notice because that's what they're supposed to do.

2007-08-15 05:28:29
13.   Sliced Bread
Kay and Singleton's 5th(?) inning interview with Yogi was the highlight of the night for me.

In case you missed it:

Yogi talked about visiting Rizzuto in his final months, watching daytime ballgames together, knowing it was time to go home when his old pal would drift off to sleep. Touching stuff from Yogi. And who knew DiMaggio had introduced Rizzuto to Cora? Scooter's greatest catch was assisted by the centerfielder.

By the way, Cliff, beautiful job remembering Scooter. The SI.com write up is excellent.

2007-08-15 05:37:56
14.   joe in boston
13 true comments - I enjoyed hearing Yogi's stories as well. Tough to see these guys get old.
2007-08-15 05:41:29
15.   rbj
Not much to add. Even with nine walks, you aren't going to win (usually) if you only get two hits. Can't win 'em all down the stretch, just shake off one bad night.

I was channel flipping, so only caught some of the tributes. I appreciated them. Most announcers nowadays tend to be so focused on the game and telling you what's happening -- which I guess is as it should be. But when I go to a game, even alone, I hear other fans & get to talking with them about lots of things, not just the game. That's what Scooter was like, basically we were just a couple of fans sitting in the bleachers talking about things while a game was going on.

2007-08-15 05:59:28
16.   williamnyy23
1 The funny thing about the Scooter's broadcasting legacy is he is remembered as a loveable, albeit nutty Yankee homer. While there's nothing wrong with that, and it is an accurate description of the Rizzuto most of us grew up with, it doesn't represent the entirety of his broadcasting career. I was too young to catch the Scooter when he first started out, but thanks to the glory of the NY Times archive, it was amazing to learn that Rizzuto's early broadcasting reputation was of someone not afraid to criticize players/umpires and capable of examining the game in detail. At the time he broke in, Red Barber was probably the standard…facts and only facts. Even though other players had cracked the ranks, Rizzuto did so in a unique way.

I came across several articles detailing how Rizzuto's analysis was revolutionary to the industry. For example, Phil happened to be broadcasting a WPIX game against Boston that was using a NBC feed equipped with an 80 inch camera placed in center field. The camera had been used before, but on this broadcast, Rizzuto began talking about seeing the catcher's signs. He then proceeded to decode the signals and predict what pitches would be coming. The broadcast caused such an uproar that MLB petitioned NBC to stop using the camera. Phil's response was very clever and cunnings: "they can always just change the signs". Today, we take for granted the centerfield camera, but at the time, it was a controversial development, thanks in part to Rizzuto's understanding of the game.

In another article, it talked about how Rizzuto had observed on the air that more and more hitters were positioning themselves in the back of the batter's box. The writer than talked to several scouts, who agreed with the Scooter's observation, stating that the increase in the number of fastball pitchers had forced the hitters to move back.

Even though the Yankee's booth was stocked with two broadcasting legends (Mel Allen and Red Barber), Rizzuto slowly took over the airwaves, emerging as the dominant figures and pushing both seasoned broadcasters out of the mix (much to Barber's dismay). While guys like Dizzy Dean were colorful (like the latter day Scooter), Rizzuto really established that jocks could be excellent broadcasters. Of course, once he laid that groundwork, he transitioned into a more partial, zany play by play man. In many ways, that transition cemented Phil's legacy, but in no way should it dismiss the excellent, professional broadcasting that he performed. Rizzuto absolutely deserves to be posthumously given the Ford Frick award because if he isn't one of the best broadcasters in baseball history, then the designation is meaningless.

2007-08-15 06:01:19
17.   hoppystone
A little off-topic, but maybe not: the same day as Scooter's passing (ironically and not intentionally), an amazing assortment of cuts from Eddie Layton's old 1950s recordings is now posted on line. Listen and download for free! If you think you heard Layton really play at the stadium, you ain't heard nothin'!

http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2007/08/365-days-226---.html

2007-08-15 06:07:51
18.   williamnyy23
10 I agree about Bauer and Boyer. I was a little disappointed something special wasn't done for them. The black arm band is for Corey Lidle, as it should be, but both Boyer and Bauer were key parts of the Yankee family
2007-08-15 06:12:18
19.   williamnyy23
17 Do they have Easter Parade? When Dan Pasqua (Easter in Italian) would come to bat, Layton would play Easter Parade, much to the delight of the Scooter.

When you think about it, we've come a long way from "Easter Parade" to "This is Why I'm Hot".

2007-08-15 06:30:10
20.   bp1
13 The clip of Yogi in the dugout next to Joe, with Joe squeezing him on the shoulder - man. Major lump in the throat. Kids were wondering what was up, but it was hard to explain. I tried, though. Even got some cannolis to have after dinner.

I thought the Yankees and YES handled everything with class and dignity.

2007-08-15 06:43:57
21.   Yank fan in Eugene
As a kid growing up in Providence, in the belly of the beast now known as Red Sox Nation, the airways were dominated by Boston baseball. There was no MLB.com (hell there wasn't even cable), but on a clear summer night through the static at the far end of the AM dial, I could occasional pick up the play by play of Phil Rizzuto. Rizzuto was the lifeline to my boyhood heroes. Holy Cow, thanks for all the memories Phil.
2007-08-15 06:55:27
22.   Chyll Will
16 I could be absolutely wrong, but could it be that Rizutto's transition from hard-nosed analyst to zany play-by-play was in connection with the lean years the team endured from the mid sixties-early seventies? I wasn't around for most of that, so I wouldn't know, but it would seem to make sense to me.

I didn't catch much of the YES broadcast, but I did see the clip of Phil introducing himself as Bill White, and Bill falling down laughing in the back. That has stuck in my mind to this moment.

In regards to his playing days, I got a lump in my throat when I read how he found out how he was being released: He was invited into an office and told that a player had to be released from the team. Together with the manager and GM, they went over the list of players on the roster, and he was asked to give a reason for why each player should be kept. He went down the list to the very end, giving a reason for each one, until they came to the last name. His own.

And I'll never forget how Phil was told he couldn't go to Mickey's funeral, but at the last minute he left the booth and went anyway. That was his friend. That's real guts.

2007-08-15 06:57:20
23.   Chyll Will
20 Poor Yogi... he could barely get the words out, he was definitely somewhere else.
2007-08-15 07:04:04
24.   Cliff Corcoran
22 You're just a hair off on the release story. Phil would name the player he thought should go and George Weiss would tell him why that player couldn't be released. I also doubt they went through every player on the roster. I'm sure Rizzuto didn't name Mantle or Ford or Berra, etc.
2007-08-15 07:05:15
25.   williamnyy23
22 I wouldn't be surpised if Rizzuto started his transition around the time Steinbrenner took over. While Rizzuto may have been asked to stifle his rooting in the past, I'm sure Steinbrenner would have welcomed, if not demanded it.
2007-08-15 07:07:05
26.   Chyll Will
24 Unreliable sources >;)
2007-08-15 07:09:04
27.   monkeypants
22 Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the whole Mickey's funeral fiasco a little more complicated than that? I was under the impression that Rizzuto initial said that he was not going, but changed his mind at the last minute, which then set in play the ultimate confrontation.

Or am I wrong?

2007-08-15 07:16:57
28.   williamnyy23
22 That story has become popular, but I wonder if the Scooter didn't embellish it a little. Accounts at the time suggested Weiss had talked to Rizzuto about becoming a coach weeks before the release. Also, one NYT article quotes Weiss as saying he told Rizzuto that the team needed outfield help and had to replace him. Also, Weiss was quoted as saying, "This way you can dicker for your radio and TV job".

I'm sure Weiss, Casey and Rizzuto had some kind of meeting, but I have a feeling it was more direct. While Rizzuto was clearly shocked by the decision, according to all accounts, I think the biggest surprise was he was released and not immediately made a coach.

Also, at the time, Rizzuto fully expected to be reinstated by September 1, an inferred promise that wasn't kept. I have a feeling that stung the most, because after that date, stories start appearing about Rizzuto possibly playing with St. Louis, or taking a broadcasting job for the Giants or Orioles. Luckily, Scooter hung around, bit his tongue, and lived his life as a Yankee.

2007-08-15 07:22:34
29.   Chyll Will
27 Cliff could probably answer that better, but I read where he had wanted to go, but was told that he couldn't go becaue he was obligated to call the game that day and decided to follow along with that, but then got fidgety and said he was going anyway and left. I didn't mean to imply it was simply him deciding to leave at the spur of the moment, I'm sure it was something that either built up to that or spurred him to go. I do remember the mess that followed, though. It almost reminds me of how the whole thing with Bernie had been handled; seems that there's always some ball getting dropped when it comes to dealing with fan favorites on the business end of things, but that's just an impression I get.
2007-08-15 07:23:41
30.   williamnyy23
27 The following is from an NY Times article dated 8/24/95.

On Aug. 15, Rizzuto was faced with attending Mantle's funeral in Dallas or calling the Yankee game in Boston, where the station thought he would be valuable in delivering a tribute to Mantle. One of his partners in the booth, Bobby Murcer, went to Dallas.

Instead of asserting himself and using the airline reservations he had made, Rizzuto watched the service on television in his hotel room and grew increasingly upset that he had not gone. He was so distraught that he left the booth that night after the fifth inning and never returned. "I believed him when he said he was through for good," said Paul Olden, Rizzuto's announcing partner since last year.

Rizzuto said anger at himself for not pushing to go to Dallas led to his quitting. "I fell apart and wasn't professional enough to come back, do the tribute to Mickey and honor my contract for the rest of the year," he said.

2007-08-15 07:27:46
31.   dianagramr
23

agreed .... Yogi seemed somewhere far far away .... with good reason.

2007-08-15 07:31:35
32.   Raf
30 All these years later, I still think he should have gone. Anyone who would've called or wrote in to complain doesn't deserve to be called a Yankees fan.

It should never had been an issue with WPIX.

2007-08-15 07:31:50
33.   Chyll Will
30 Wow. No wonder no one brought it beforehand. Sorry for opening a can of worms if I did.
2007-08-15 07:33:31
34.   monkeypants
29 Unfortunately, it's almost impossible not to drop the ball in sports with fan favorites, especially if the fan favorite commands (or seems to demand) specialized treatment. Bernie's situation was handled poorly because he just wouldn't retire gracefully. Now, I don't blmae a guy for trying to hang on, but the team sent plenty of signals in public--and I suspect there were some in private--that they were going in a different direction.
2007-08-15 07:34:49
35.   Raf
Did anyone see what Jose Offerman did yesterday?

http://tinyurl.com/2qpp7y

"Offerman, playing for the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League, homered in the first inning. The next inning, he was hit by a pitch from Bridgeport's Matt Beech and charged the mound with his bat.

Offerman hit Beech in the hands and struck catcher John Nathans in the head.

The game was delayed for about 20 minutes because of the melee. Offerman, Beech and Bridgeport manager and former major league pitcher Tommy John were all ejected."

2007-08-15 07:37:29
36.   williamnyy23
32 33 It's a very interesting point in Rizzuto's career. I think the key is that WPIX didn't demand he stay, but only requested he stay to handle the tribute on the air. Rizzuto's regret was directed toward himself; it wasn't really anger at WPIX.

Ironically (used in tribute to Michael Kay), it was a shame that Bobby Murcer wasn't in the booth yesterday.

2007-08-15 07:39:52
37.   Chyll Will
34 That is true. I for one was pushing for Bernie to move on (retire, hopefully, but move on nonetheless), and he didn't make the situation easy according to those involved. I read too much into stuff, I suppose, or not read enough. Bad morning for me I see; oh well, dust off and keep it moving >;)
2007-08-15 07:40:02
38.   williamnyy23
36 Also, it should be pointed out, the Scooter did return to the booth in 1996, albeit it for an even more limited WPIX schedule.
2007-08-15 07:52:31
39.   JL25and3
28 I'm not going to take Weiss's quotes in the Times as counting for much.
2007-08-15 07:55:35
40.   NJYankee41
35 There is no excuse for that. At least he was arrested.
2007-08-15 07:59:27
41.   williamnyy23
39 Weiss quotes were provided by Phil Rizzuto though, so I am not sure if there is reason to doubt them.
2007-08-15 08:08:51
42.   NJYankee41
Pete Abe reports Edwar and Henn have been brought up and Karstens and Brower sent down. Brower is probably DFA'd while Karstens has options. Now that leads to the question of all questions: what about Britton?
2007-08-15 08:13:41
43.   seamus
Henn and Edwar in. Karstens and Brower out.

I like this. Others may not be enthused about Henn, but I like what he gives us more than either Karstens or Brower for sure.

You've gotta think the Yanks wanted a lefty, or that Britton isn't doing well or is in some doghouse or other.

2007-08-15 08:14:04
44.   tommyl
42 My guess is that Henn replaces Karstens as the "long man" that Joe never uses appropriately. Britton is just a good righty reliever. I feel awful for Britton, he was good in the majors last year, finally gets on a contender and then doesn't get to play. Everytime he's been up he's been great, and he's lights out in the minors. Meanwhile he probably watches Kyle and Villone every night.

Still the Edwarrior is back!

2007-08-15 08:22:46
45.   JL25and3
41 The article in the Times says that Weiss talked to Rizzuto a week before about becoming a coach. It's not clear whether Scooter have thought it might have been a player-coach position, which wasn't so uncommon then.

In any case, nothing in that conversation stopped him from being "shocked" at his release. And there's certainly nothing that contradicts the rest of the story as it's generally told. It fits easily enough with Stengel's character, certainly.

2007-08-15 08:22:50
46.   williamnyy23
43 Britton has pitched 5 strong innings since coming off the DL. I'm glad Edwar is back, but can't even imagine why Britton keeps getting passed over.
2007-08-15 08:23:58
47.   pistolpete
42 Britton must have spit in Joe's tea, it's the only explanation. Either that, or I read that he had just come back from an injury down at AAA, so maybe they'd like to give him some more time before coming up.

At least Edwar got another shot.

I also heard something on Max Kellerman's show this morning that confirmed something I had thought about before. Farnsworth hadn't been used in any 'crucial' situations lately, but when Torre uses him in a 12-0 game and he retires the side on 9 pitches, it can only serve as a confidence-builder.

Since we're stuck with him anyway, let's hope Kellerman was right and that K.K. can actually be used in a meaningful spot. Interchanging Joba and an effective Farnsworth, IMO, is sort of like what Boston has going with Gagne and Papelbon.

Anyway, hopefully Villone is toast as well as soon as Britton's able to come up.

2007-08-15 08:26:30
48.   pistolpete
BTW, great write-up Cliff. My feelings on the man is that he would have made last night's disaster a little more tolerable, and it was only fitting that the YES booth spent the majority of the blowout reminiscing about the man.

I'm not quite sure why Yogi had to be there, though. Unless it was his decision to be with his Yankees family in time of mourning.

2007-08-15 08:26:34
49.   williamnyy23
45 Considering how forthright the Scooter was in the article, I have a hard time believing he wouldn't have hinted at the circumstances as later described. While there is no evidence to suggest the story isn't true, I still can't help but believe it was somewhat embellished.
2007-08-15 08:27:06
50.   Raf
19 And that's one of the few things that really bothers me about the game today.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-08-15 08:40:54
51.   seamus
46 That is a good point. Though it must be because what he provides, we seem to have in droves. And while I'd rather have Britton than Farnsworth, we clearly aren't dumping Farnsworth yet.
2007-08-15 08:41:40
52.   NJYankee41
We need someone to do a story on Britton and find out whats up. There has to be something we don't know about. Its hard to believe such an option would be passed over time after time. The last move I would like to see is Villone for Britton. Villone has too much "experience" so it probably won't happen. But I think having a lefty in the pen is even more overrated than the save as a stat.
2007-08-15 08:44:40
53.   williamnyy23
51 If the Yankees had what Britton provides in droves, they'd be in first place by 5 games. There seems to be the notion that Britton is a fireballing righty who is wild (ala Bruney and Farnsworth), but nothing could be further from the truth. In both the majors and minors, Bruney has exhibited solid control.
2007-08-15 08:51:14
54.   JL25and3
49 Not to argue, but just as a different take: I think Scooter was smart enough not to burn his bridges. I'm also not sure he was one to have been so upfront about his humiliation.

I'll see if I can find my copy of Creamer's biography of Stengel. That's where I first read the story, and he did his work pretty well. If it's just Scooter's story told much later, he'll say that.

2007-08-15 08:51:19
55.   Chyll Will
53 You mean Britton?
2007-08-15 08:55:29
56.   pablo44davis
So many Scooter memories. I'm the generation that didn't see the man play, but didn't miss him by much, and my Bronx-raised old man (b. 1924, once stood on the running board of The Babe's car as he left the Stadium, saw Gehrig, DiMag, Ruffing, etc., etc. many times, Yanks won pennants when he was 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, and 18 - you know, a charter member of The Most Spoiled Generation of Yank fans) told me all about him.

But I listened to Rizzuto many hundreds of times on the radio as a kid and young man, and have so many memories of that.

The goofy stream-of-consciousness... You know, stuff like "So, Clarke flies out for the second out in the eighth, nobody on, Yanks down 7-1. Here comes Kenney. Oh my God, could I go for a calzone right now. Ball one high from Palmer. You know, my buddy Mike Di Angelo can cook up one incredible calzone, there at his place on 185th St in Queens... Strike one called..." and so on, and on, and entertainingly on.

Sometimes he could be infuriatingly off the mark, but ultimately you had to laugh. You know, calls that would go something like this: "2 and 2, here comes the pitch from Witt... Oh boy, Winfield hits it a mile... Holy Cow! Valentine looks up at it, goes back, but he's got no chance... Oh! He caught it! How do you like that? Inning over."

The books (I believe there were two of them) they collected of verbatim transcripts of Rizzuto's calls of Yankee games, separated out into lines like poetry, are amazing. Some of them are heartbreakingly beautiful. Like the one about looking at the full moon the night of the game after Munson's funeral (the one Murcer won driving in 5 runs with a 3 run HR and a two-run single in the 9th, against the Orioles) and thinking of Thurman. The title is: O Holy Cow!: The Found Poetry of Phil Rizzuto and is really worth reading. It will take you back to another era in Yankee history and in this country.

One last thing -- in O Holy Cow! there is one Rizzuto thing I never heard myself, just read it in the book, and it's fantastic. It was some awful early 80s game, late in a meaningless season, the Yanks getting drubbed by the Royals or somebody, and the only guy doing anything at the plate was Alvaro Espinoza who just got his 3rd hit of the night. Espy had been complaining in the press about his playing time, so Scooter says he talked to him before the game and said basically, stop taking your grievances to the media, just go out on the field and do your thing -- and start by getting 3 hits tonight! Then he says: "It sounds made up, I know. Well, I did make it up. I had to do something, it's such a lousy game."

2007-08-15 08:56:29
57.   williamnyy23
55 Yes...I meant Britton.
2007-08-15 08:59:33
58.   williamnyy23
54 You might be right...I just figured that his openiness about the 9/1 promise (which I imagine was probably something meant to be discrete), shock at the release, discussion of a conversation with Weiss about coaching as well as the mention of the broadcasting, would have meant he'd at least hint at what he later stated took place.
2007-08-15 09:03:52
59.   williamnyy23
Here's one more interesting Scooter tidbit:

In 1946, Rizzuto made a verbal agreement to sign a five year deal with a team in a newly formed Mexican league. The league, which had tried to induce other major leaguers, was being sued by the Yankees and that fact was reveleaed in a deposition. As it turned out, Rizzuto quickly got cold feet and backed out.

Just think, had the Scooter moved to Mexio, he likely would have passed away as an anonymous figure. Good decision Scooter!

2007-08-15 09:18:02
60.   tommyl
Duncan starts in right, and Betemit gives Cano a spell. I love having Wilson on the bench. He can play every IF position and is a legitimate batter.
2007-08-15 09:49:07
61.   Eric
35 40 there are some frightening pictures of the melee on the wcbs880.com website. Sorry I don't know how to do the tinyurl deal
2007-08-15 10:18:27
62.   JL25and3
59 Either that, or a much-beloved announcer in Mexico. ¡Vaca sagrada!
2007-08-15 12:25:21
63.   rmaas
I knew a slightly different Phil Rizzuto. My dad went to work for Yogi and Phil in 1958 as their first employee in the 40 lane bowling alley they opened in Clifton, NJ. I remember as a twelve or thirteen year old going to the picnic they held every summer for their employees. Yogi and/or Phil would attend and round up all the kids and take them out to the baseball diamond. Phil taught me how to turn a double play and some of the little tricks he used around the bag that I ultimately put to use in college ball. Most of all, I remember how important they were to my families economic well being. My father had been laid off by Curtiss Wright and he had attended the Brunswick School to learn how to repair the "new" automatic pin spotter machines that were being installed in the new bowling alleys. In 1964, when Yogi got fired as Yankee Manager, Phil and Yogi decided to sell the bowling alley business. They could have sold it to outsiders for a higher price, but instead chose to sell it to some of their employees, including my father, my uncle, Phil's brother, Freddy Rizzuto and two others. They owned the business for many years thereafter using the Rizzuto-Berra name, and having many of the trophies and mementos in the large display case in the lobby of the bowling alleys. Phil and Yogi were always good to my Dad and in the long run were good for my family. That is my personl remembrances of Phil Rizzuto.

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