Phil Rizzuto

Philip Francis Rizzuto
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1994
Primary team: New York Yankees
Primary position: Shortstop

Longtime shortstop Phil Rizzuto was such an integral part of the New York Yankees’ success in the 1940s and 1950s, when the team was winning nine American League pennants and seven World Series titles during his 13 seasons with the club, that fellow Hall of Famer Ted Williams once remarked “if the Red Sox would have had Phil we would have won all those pennants.”

“I hustled and got on base and made the double play,” Rizzuto said. “That’s all the Yankees needed in those days, somebody who could get on base, make the double play and not make too many errors. The other guys did all the work, all the RBIs and home runs.”

The diminutive (5-foot-6, 150 pounds) Rizzuto, nick-named “The Scooter,” spent his entire big league career as an excellent-fielding shortstop and deft bunter with the Yankees. After breaking into the lineup in 1941 and becoming an All-Star the next season, he spent the next three years in the Navy.

By 1949 Rizzuto had become an offensive force as well, finishing second in the AL MVP voting after hitting .275 with 110 runs scored. Arguably Rizzuto’s best season came in 1950 when won MVP honors after collecting career-highs in hits (200), batting average (.324), on-base percentage (.418), runs (125), RBI (66), home runs (7), walks (92), doubles
(36) and slugging average (.439.)

“All the Yankees knew how important he was to the ball club. The heart of the team on defense is up the middle, and there were few better than Phil there,” said teammate Gil McDougald. “And he was tough at the plate. He did what had to be done. I saw him even jump up to bunt a ball on a squeeze play, not once but a dozen times, and we scored.”

After Rizzuto, a five-time All-Star, finished has playing career in 1956 with a batting average of .273, 1,588 hits, 149 stolen bases, 38 home runs and 563 RBI, he moved directly into the Yankees’ broadcast booth.

It was while behind the microphone for the next 40 years that Rizzuto developed a whole new legion of fans with his trademark “Holy Cow” expression and his uniquely amusing style where he often shifted from game action to digressions on non-baseball subjects.

"The little guy in front of me, he made my job easy, I didn’t have to pick up so many ground balls. "
Joe DiMaggio

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Career stats

Year Inducted: 1994
Primary Team: New York Yankees
Position Played: Shortstop
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Brooklyn, New York
Birth year: 1917
Died: 2007, West Orange, New Jersey
Played for:
New York Yankees (1941-1942)
New York Yankees (1946-1956)
At BatsAB
Home RunsHR
Stolen BasesSB
Batting AverageBA
On Base %OBP
Slugging %SLG