Archive for the ‘Phil Rizzuto’ Category

Death of Phil Rizzuto

August 14, 2007

I was about 9 years old when my grandfather gave me a baseball signed by Phil Rizzuto, some old guy who I hadn’t really heard of. Gramps had met “Scooter” at a charity golf tournament and, jokingly, asked him to sign a baseball for his grandfather. I guess he was looking for a laugh, but apparently Rizzuto didn’t get it, and just asked, “Sure thing! What’s your grandfather’s name?” Joke having sailed way over Scooter’s head, my 65 year-old Gramps dutifully responded, “Nick,” and so I got my ball.

rizzuto.jpg

I’d come to learn that this wasn’t Rizzuto’s only oblivious moment. During his Hall of Fame induction speech, he mentioned that he thought New Guinea was full of Italians. When keeping score during games, he coined the notation “WW” for plays where he wasn’t watching. Scooter’s scorecards must have been brimming with WWs, because some guys were able to make a poetry collection out of all his in-game musings. A few examples:

Two balls and a strike. You know what they had on TV today, White? “Bridge on the River Kwai.” Everybody should have gotten an Academy Award for that movie. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it. About forty times. Alec Guinness! William Holden! Three and one the count. I just heard somebody whistle. You know that song? That’s what they whistle. Nobody out. And he pops it up.

Or,

The legs are so important.
In golf, they’re very,
People don’t realize
How important legs are in golf,
Or in baseball,
And football, definitely.
Track.
O, in track.
All-important.
Jumping.
Soccer.
Is there anything, what?
Is there anything where the legs
Are not the most important?

This guy was like Yogi Berra, minus the hidden insight. And like Berra, he’ll probably be remembered not for his on-field brilliance but for his off-the-field quirkiness. Not that I have a problem with that — it probably makes my ball more valuable. I’m accepting offers now at alphazeromail@gmail.com.

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