Posts Tagged ‘Phil Rizzuto’

“Part of a Yankee telecast on WPIX TV, Channel 11 from 1986. Bill White and Phil Rizzuto broadcast a 4th inning rain delay as the Yankees played the Twins at Yankee Stadium.”

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ESPN New York released their “50 Greatest Yankees” list the other day. I can’t really argue too much with their list, although I probably would have swapped Thurman Munson (#12) and Bill Dickey (#10). Yes, I know Dickey is in the Hall of Fame and Munson isn’t. But it was Munson’s leadership, as much as anything else that returned the Yankees to their winning ways in the ’70s. And who knows what kind of numbers he would have put up if not for the plane crash?

Anyway, here’s their list. I’ve added in the dates they played for the Yanks, along with their position. An asterisk denotes a playing career interrupted by a military commitment; # denotes a Hall-of-Famer. Current players are in red type. Feel free to let us know how you feel about the list!

50. Mike Mussina (RHP, 2001-2008)

49. Bob Meusel (LF, 1920-1930)

48. Albert “Sparky” Lyle (LHP, 1972-1978)

47. Gil McDougald (IF, 1951-1960)

46. Jim “Catfish” Hunter (RHP, 1974-1978)#

45. David Cone (RHP, 1995-2000)

44. Roy White (LF, 1965-1979)

43. Hank Bauer (RF, 1948-1959)

42. Jack Chesbro (RHP, 1903-1909)#

41. Eddie Lopat (RHP, 1948-1955)

40. Rickey Henderson (1985-1989)#

39. Vic Raschi (RHP, 1946-1953)

38. Joe Gordon (2B, 1938-1946)*#

37. Tommy Henrich (RF, 1937-1950)*

36. Charlie “King Kong” Keller (LF, 1939-1949)*

35. Bobby Murcer (CF, 1969-1974, 1979-1983)

34. Spurgeon “Spud” Chandler (RHP, 1937-1947)

33. Willie Randolph (2B, 1976-1988)

32. Waite Hoyt (RHP, 1921-1929)#

31. Mel Stottlemyre (RHP, 1964-1974)

30. Paul O’Neill (RF, 1993-2001)

29. Graig Nettles (3B, 1973-1983)

28. Dave Winfield (OF, 1981-1990)#

27. Herb Pennock (LHP, 1923-1933)#

26. Allie “Superchief” Reynolds (RHP, 1947-1954)

25. Rich “Goose” Gossage (RHP, 1978-1983, 1989)#

24. Elston Howard (C, 1955-1967)

23. Earle Combs (CF, 1924-1935)#

22. Roger Maris (RF, 1960-1966)

21. Jorge Posada (C, 1995-present)

20. Phil Rizzuto (SS, 1941-1956)*#

19. Bernie Williams (CF, 1991-2006)

18. “Poosh ‘Em Up” Tony Lazzeri (2B, 1926-1937)#

17. Ron “Gator” Guidry (LHP, 1975-1988)

16. Andy Pettitte (LHP, 1995-2003, 2007-2010)

15. Reggie Jackson (RF, 1977-1981)#

14. Vernon “Lefty” Gomez (LHP, 1930-1942)#

13. Alex Rodriguez (3B, 2004-present)

12. Thurman Muson (C, 1969-1979)

11. Don Mattingly (1B, 1982-1995)

10. Bill Dickey (C, 1928-1946)#

9. Charles “Red” Ruffing (RHP, 1930-1942)#

8. Edward “Whitey” Ford (LHP, 1953-1967)*#

7. Derek Jeter (SS, 1995-present)

6. Lawrence “Yogi” Berra (C, 1946-1963)#

5. Mariano Rivera (RHP, 1995-present)

4. Mickey Mantle (CF, 1950-1968)#

3. “Joltin” Joe DiMaggio (CF, 1936-1951)*#

2. Lou “Iron Horse” Gehrig (1B, 1923-1939)#

1. George “Babe” Ruth (RF, 1920-1934)#

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John Amirante/Photo Courtesy of the NY Daily News

I found this interesting piece by Jesse Spector of the NY Daily News. Apparently, when John Amirante occasionally sang the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium, he used to travel to Plainview, NY (my hometown) to Licata’s and pick up some cannoli’s for Phil Rizzuto.

Touching Base:

Back in January, I was starting to gain some momentum on the Pine Tar Game project, but I got bogged down in the first inning when the next bit of commentary from Bobby Murcer and Bill White went as follows…

MURCER: Well, you know what happens when John Amirante sings the National Anthem.

WHITE: Yeah, we get cannolis.

MURCER: Five pounds’ worth. (White laughs.) You gotta work out another week.

Stymied in my initial attempts to get in touch with Amirante, I put the project on the back burner until Tuesday night, when I went to the Rangers game and he sang the national anthems of both Canada and the U.S., brilliantly as usual. Michael Obernauer, our Rangers beat writer here at the Daily News, got me Amirante’s business card, and I talked to him today.

The cannolis were probably long gone by then. Now, so is the place where Amirante got them – Licata’s in Plainview, L.I.

“I would bring those cannolis for (Phil) Rizzuto every time I sang there,” said Amirante, who split anthem duties with Robert Merrill in the Bronx in the 1980s. “(In 1984), the Yankees arranged for me to sing in Baltimore on his birthday, and I went down with a close friend of Phil Rizzuto’s and I brought cannolis and they put them in the refrigerator until I was done singing. When I got out there to sing the anthem, Rizzuto almost fell out of the booth – he was screaming and waving his arms, and I thought he was going to fall. And I have a great picture of him and me and the cannoli box with the whole park behind us from the booth.” (more…)

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This blog post is a piece I wrote for the “Pinch Hitter Series” over at The LoHud Yankees Blog. I want to thank Yankees beat writer Chad Jennings for giving me the opportunity to participate. I have a great appreciation for the rich history of this great franchise, and I thought it would be great to pay tribute to one of it’s finest characters. Here is the uncut version of my entry:

“Hello there, everybody!” That’s one of the many catchphrases you might have heard by Melvin Allen Israel during his Yankees broadcasts. He was born on February 14, 1913, in Birmingham, Alabama. His love for the game of baseball as a young boy would play a big role in his life.

The future sportscaster attended the University of Alabama where he was a member of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity as an undergraduate. He served as the public address announcer at Alabama football games. In 1933, Birmingham’s WBRC was in need of a new play-by-play announcer and Alabama coach Frank Thomas suggested Israel to fill the position. It was his first job behind the microphone. Israel’s first broadcast was Alabama’s home opener that year, against Tulane. He went on to earn a law degree from Alabama, but that wasn’t a major priority in his life. His boyhood love for baseball led him to become first a sports columnist and then a radio announcer.

Soon after graduating from Alabama in 1937, Allen took a train to New York City for a vacation, and he never turned back. While on vacation, he auditioned for the CBS Radio Network as a staff announcer. They already knew about him, as the network’s top sportscaster, Ted Husing, had heard many of his Crimson Tide broadcasts. They hired him at $45 a week. In his first year at CBS, he announced the crash of the Hindenburg. CBS suggested that Mel go by a different on-air last name, so he chose Allen, his father’s middle name. He legally changed his last name to Allen in 1943. That week’s vacation became 60 years. He settled in New York and lived in the metro area for many years. (more…)

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In the Yankees’ long line of history, they have retired in total 16 numbers for 17 players (Including Jackie Robinson) which is far above any other team in Major League Baseball history and over the course of the next 5 years will be adding more numbers to the list. Below is the list of current retired numbers with the appropriately named player for those numbers.

1 – Billy Martin
3 – Babe Ruth
4 – Lou Gehrig
5 – Joe DiMaggio
7 – Mickey Mantle
8 – Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra
9 – Roger Maris
10 – Phil Rizzuto
15 – Thurman Munson
16 – Whitey Ford
23 – Don Mattingly
32 – Elston Howard
37 – Casey Stengel
44 – Reggie Jackson
42 – Jackie Robinson
49 – Ron Guidry

Now, in the next decade, give or take, the Yankees will be adding more numbers to the already historic list. Personally, I believe the Yankees will retire all the below listed numbers.

2 – Derek Jeter
6 – Joe Torre
20 – Jorge Posada
21 – Paul O’Neill
42 – Mariano Rivera
46 – Andy Pettitte
51 – Bernie Williams

When do I think all these numbers will be retired? Hard to tell. Derek and Mo’s numbers are a given to happen within the first year or two of retirement. However, I don’t think Torre’s number will be retired with Brian Cashman working in the organization considering their falling out, but crazier things have happened. There is something that tells me Bernie and Posada’s numbers might take a little bit longer, but will eventually join Mariano and Derek’s numbers in time. Another issue that will come up is whether or not Pettitte’s number should be retired due to his admitted use of HGH. Now, I believe what he has told us, so I don’t think he should be penalized for what he has done. I mean, the Yankees have brought him back the last two years, so obviously they don’t think it’s an issue.

So there is the potential for 23 numbers for 25 players to be retired in the next decade, give or take, which is kind of crazy, but after this group gets their just due, it won’t be for a while that another number gets retired.

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Here are some early morning Yankees video clips to pass the time:


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