Rizzuto was nicknamed “the Scooter” for his speed and defensive range, and was one of the most popular Yankee players during the ’50s; after retiring from the team, he went on to become one of their most popular broadcasters.
“I got a letter threatening me, Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra and Johnny Mize. It said if I showed up in uniform against the Red Sox I’d be shot. I turned the letter over to the FBI, and told my manager Casey Stengel about it. You know what Casey did? He gave me a different uniform, and gave mine to Billy Martin. Can you imagine that! Guess Casey thought it’d be better if Billy got shot.” –Phil Rizzuto remembering 1950, the year he was named American League MVP
Rizzuto spent his entire 13-year baseball career with the New York Yankees (1941–1956). A player 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 is also regarded as one of the best bunters in baseball history.
After his playing career, Rizzuto enjoyed a 40-year career as a radio and television sports announcer for the Yankees. He was well known for his trademark expression, “Holy Cow.”
Rizzuto was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1980. Rizzuto was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. Rizzuto died in 2007.