Thursday, February 21, 2013

HOF Sketch Card Project: Phil Rizzuto

Nicknamed "Scooter", Phil Rizzuto spent his entire 13-year baseball career with the New York Yankees, serving as the team's shortstop from 1941 until 1956. A very popular figure on a team dynasty which captured 10 AL titles and seven World Championships in his 13 seasons, Rizzuto holds numerous World Series records for shortstops. His best statistical season was 1950, when he was named the American League's MVP. Rizzuto was a classic "small ball" player, noted for his strong defense in the infield. The slick-fielding Rizzuto is also regarded as one of the best bunters in baseball history. A solid fielder, Rizzuto's 968 career fielding average at the time of his retirement trailed only Lou Boudreau's mark of .973 among AL shortstops. Rizzuto was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.

I completed this sketch card in December 2012.

10 random facts about Phil Rizzuto

  • Rizzuto was named Minor League Player of the Year in 1940 by The Sporting News
  • His Major League career was interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Navy during World War II; from 1943 to 1945, Rizzuto played on a Navy baseball team.
  • Rizzuto won the AL MVP in 1950 after hitting .324 with 200 hits, and collecting 92 walks while scoring 125 runs.
  • During the 1950s, Hall of Famer Ty Cobb named Phil Rizzuto and Stan Musial as "two of the few modern ball players who could hold their own among old timers."
  • When he retired, his 1,217 career double plays ranked second in history, trailing only Luke Appling's total of 1,424. 
  • At the time of his retirement, he appeared in the most World Series games ever (52), a mark that would eventually be surpassed by 5 of his Yankees teammates.
  • After his playing career, he enjoyed a 40-year career as a radio and TV sports announcer for the Yankees; he was well known for his trademark expression, "Holy cow!"
  • The Yankees retired Rizzuto's number 10 in a ceremony at Yankee Stadium on August 4, 1985.
  • He is a 2009 inductee of the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
  • On February 2, 1950, Rizzuto was the very first mystery guest on the 1950–67 Goodson-Todman Productions game show What's My Line? hosted by John Charles Daly.

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