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RIP: Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto

Paulie Mississippi

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I was heartbroken to hear of Rizzuto's passing. When I was a teenager I used to get to the Stadium early to take photos & get autographs from the players as they entered the Stadium. Phil Rizzuto was always so nice to the fans. I celebrated my 16th birthday at Shea (Yankee Stadium was undergoing its 2 year renovation). A friend had given me an inflatable birthday cake. We went up to the press level & Rizzuto was nice enough to sign it for me, complete with a scooter that he doodled.

Rizzuto stopped playing before I was born, so I only know him as a broadcaster. It's often been said that he wasn't a good announcer. His "WW" in his scorecard for "wasn't watching" is legendary. That didn't matter. Whether on TV or radio, I always enjoyed listening to him because he always sounded like he was having FUN. I'm still a Yankee fan, but after Rizzuto left the broadcast booth, I stopped listening to & watching Yankee games. It's downright painful to listen to John Sterling (how does he fit into the booth with that giant ego?) or Michael Kay.

Phil Rizzuto was a big inspiration to me. Casey Stengel told him he'd never make it as a ballplayer, yet Rizzuto went on to have a wonderful career. When I was in high school I wanted to be a sports writer. I was told to forget about it since I was a woman. I was thrown out of the boys' gym (and everyone was dressed!) while trying to cover a story. Despite these and other obstacles, probably my proudest moment in high school was being named sports editor of the school newspaper. After high school I realized that the only sport I liked was baseball so I didn't pursue a career as a sportswriter, but that's another story.

There was something adorable and lovable about Phil Rizzuto and this Yankee fan will miss him very, very much.

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