Phil Rizzuto

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

Phil Rizzuto was such an integral part of the New York Yankees’ success in the 1940s and 1950s – when the team won 10 American League pennants and eight 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 5-foot-6, 150-pounds Rizzuto, nicknamed “Scooter,” broke into the Yankees' lineup in 1941 and became an All-Star the next season. From 1943-45, Rizzuto served in the U.S. Navy, returning to the diamond in 1946.

By 1949, Rizzuto had become an offensive force as well as a defensive stalwart, finishing second in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting after hitting .275 with 110 runs scored. The next season, Rizzuto was even better. He posted career-highs in hits (200), batting average (.324), on-base percentage (.418), runs (125), home runs (7), walks (92), doubles (36) and slugging percentage (.439.) while winning the AL MVP Award.

The Yankees won the World Series in both seasons, giving Rizzuto four titles in his seven years with the team to that point.

“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.”

The Yankees won the World Series each year from 1949-53, and Rizzuto was the starting shortstop in each season. He retired following the 1956 campaign with a batting average of .273, 1,588 hits, 149 stolen bases, 38 home runs, 563 RBI and five All-Star Game selections. He led all AL shortstops in double plays three times, putouts twice and assists once.

Following his days as a player, Rizzuto moved into the Yankees’ broadcast booth, where – over the next four decades – he developed a whole new legion of fans with his trademark “Holy Cow” expression and his unique style.

Rizzuto was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994. He passed away on Aug. 13, 2007.

"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

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