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Phil Rizzuto, R.I.P.

By admin Published: August 14, 2007

From my late twenties into my early forties I lived in and around Schenectady, NY. One of the benefits during many of those years was the sheer vastness of TV sports, especially baseball, on cable: not only Ted Turner's Braves on WTBS but the Red Sox on WSBK, the Mets on WOR, the Yankees on WPIX. It was a channel-flipper's dream; while I spent most of my time watching the Red Sox, there were nights and days when I would tune into the Yankees as well. Which meant, of course, listening to Phil Rizzuto. And now Scooter has died. (One obit here.)

I'll leave others to assess his baseball career. On the air, Rizzuto was a memorable character.

Not a great broadcaster, to be sure. He was notorious for leaving games early to beat the traffic. And I remember at least one time, when things were going very badly for the Yankees on and off the field, that Rizzuto was obviously struggling to admit things were bad while never quite saying what was bothering him. Rizzuto always tried to be a good Yankee; the many Rizzuto moments on YouTube include this example of loyally (and hilariously) pushing product.

But he made "Holy Cow" a baseball catchphrase. And was a funny addition to Meat Loaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." I can still hear his voice, and it doesn't grate. Like Herb Score's, just the sound carried echoes of old-time baseball.

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