Yankees’ Phil Rizzuto dead at 89

Aug. 14, 2007 at 1:12 PM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Former New York Yankees shortstop Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto, part of the team’s 1949-53 dynasty and a legendary baseball broadcaster, died Tuesday at 89.

Rizzuto was the oldest living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, which he entered in 1994. The 5-foot, 6-inch, 160-pound Brooklyn-born Rizzuto was the Yankees’ starting shortstop from 1941 until 1956, taking three years off from 1943-45 to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

A beloved play-by-play and color analyst for the Yankees for 40 seasons, Rizzuto retired in 1996 but often returned to Yankee Stadium to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Rizzutto was the American League most valuable player in 1950, after finishing behind Boston’s Ted Williams in 1949, and played in nine World Series, winning seven world championships.

A five-time All-Star, Rizzuto batted a career .273 and was among baseball’s top base stealers seven seasons.

"I guess heaven must have needed a shortstop," said Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. "Phil Rizzuto's contributions to the Yankees and the sport of baseball were immense for a period of over 50 years. He was one of the greatest Yankees of all time and a dear, close friend of mine whose loss is enormous to me and to the entire Yankee family.”

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