Phil Rizzuto’s playing career ends
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The Yankees saw something they liked, however, and signed the young Rizzuto to a contract. By the time he reached the majors in 1941, Rizzuto had grown to 5-feet-6-inches and weighed 150 pounds.
In his rookie season, Rizzuto appeared in 133 games for the Yankees and hit .307.
“Scooter” became a fixture in the Bronx Bombers’ middle infield over the next decade, forming double-play combinations with the likes of Hall of Famer Joe Gordon, Billy Martin and others. Like many players, he served during World War II and missed three years as a result.
He was a seven-time World Champion with the Yankees, including titles in five straight seasons from 1949-1953.
Rizzuto’s best season was 1950, a year in which he won the American League MVP award. That season, Rizzuto batted .324 with 200 hits and 66 RBI. He also tallied an impressive .982 fielding percentage at shortstop, committing only 14 errors in 767 chances.
“The little guy in front of me, he made my job easy,” said Hall of Fame centerfielder Joe DiMaggio, who played behind Rizzuto from 1941-42 and 1946-51. “I didn’t have to pick up so many ground balls.”
Rizzuto died on Aug. 13, 2007.
Cody Eding was a public relations intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development