Phil Rizzuto was born on September 25, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York. He was the son of a streetcar motorman and his wife, both of whom were originally from Calabria, Italy.
Phil Rizzuto was such an integral part of the New York Yankees success in the 1940s and 1950s. – In that time the team won nine American League pennants and seven World Series titles. Phil Rizzuto played 13 seasons with the club. He was such a good player – that fellow Hall of Famer Ted Williams once remarked: “If the Red Sox would have had Phil, we would have won all those pennants.”
Phil Rizzuto, hustled and got on base and made the double plays,” That’s all the Yankees needed in those days. He also didn’t make many errors. The other guys like Berra and DiMaggio, did all the work, all the RBIs and home runs.”
The 5-foot-6, 150-pounds Rizzuto, nicknamed “Scooter,” broke into the Yankees’ lineup in 1941 and became an All-Star the next season. From 1943-45, Rizzuto served in the U.S. Navy, returning to the diamond in 1946.
By 1949, Rizzuto had become an offensive force as well as a defensive stalwart, finishing second in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting after hitting .275 with 110 runs scored. The next season, Rizzuto was even better. He posted career-highs in hits (200), batting average (.324), on-base percentage (.418), runs (125), home runs (7), walks (92), doubles (36) and slugging percentage (.439.) while winning the AL MVP Award.