June 23, 2022 by Michael Dorgan
A street corner in Glendale will soon bear the name of veteran broadcaster and Yankees legend Phil Rizzuto, who was affectionately known as “The Scooter.”
The corner of 64th Street and 78th Avenue will be co-named “Phil ‘Scooter’ Rizzuto Corner” Sunday at a ceremony hosted by Councilmember Robert Holden.
State Senator Joe Addabbo, Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar, former Yankees players and members of the Rizzuto family are among those expected to attend the event, starting at 2 p.m.
Rizzuto, who was raised in a house near where he will be honored, had an illustrious career with the Yankees from 1941 to 1956 where he earned nine American League Pennants, seven World Series Championship titles and the American League Most Valuable Player award in 1950.
He was known for his exceptional fielding and base running, and the Sporting News publication voted him the top major league shortstop for four consecutive years.
Rizzuto’s number 10 was retired by the Yankees in 1985 and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.
After he retired from baseball, Rizzuto spent 40 years as a radio and television sports announcer — the longest-serving broadcaster in Yankees history — with trademark expressions and lively play-by-play broadcasts.
His popular catchphrase was “holy cow” while he also became known for saying “unbelievable!” or “did you see that?” to describe a great play. He would call somebody a “huckleberry” if the person did something he did not like.
Rizzuto died in 2007, aged 89.
“Phil Rizzuto was not only a great ball player for the Yankees but a legend in broadcasting and he’s one of our own,” said Holden, who spearheaded the push along with the Newtown Historical Society to get the corner co-named in Rizzuto’s honor.
The Newtown Historical Society launched a petition last year advocating for the street co-naming.
Holden said that many residents have fond memories of watching the Yankees on Channel 11 and hearing Rizzuto’s voice.
“It was iconic for so many New Yorkers who grew up during those four decades,” Holden said. “Naming a street after Scooter seemed like a home run to me and I am looking forward to a big turnout on Sunday.”
Rizzuto, Holden said, was also known for his charity work and raised millions of dollars for St. Joseph’s School for the Blind, located in Jersey City. He would donate proceeds he generated from sources such as his commercials and books to the organization.
Rizzuto started playing baseball at P.S. 68 in Ridgewood and also played for Richmond Hill High School.
His baseball career was interrupted for three seasons during World War II when he joined the United States Navy and served in the Pacific.
Rizzuto had an impressive playing career. He was credited for 1,217 double plays, ranking him second in the major leagues at the time he retired. His .968 career fielding average ranked him second among American League shortstops when he retired in 1956.
Other attendees expected at the co-naming event include former Yankees player Dom Scala; Yankees executive and author Ray Negron; author and WPIX producer Marty Appel; illustrator John Pennisi; as well as representatives from Vietnam Veterans Chapter 32 and the Liberty Park Homeowners Association.
I grew up in Boston and only knew Phil Rizzuto from his cheesy ads for “The Money Store” which was some shady payday lender, or something. The ads ran on the UHF channels, 38 and/or 56.