Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Goodbye, Scooter, 1917-2007
I first heard his voice in the mid-60s, after CBS had bought the hated New York Yankees. CBS had Phil Rizzuto do the CBS Sports updates on the owned and operated radio stations, which included my Grandmother's favorite, WBBM Chicago. It was SO New York, which fit, as he was born in Brooklyn (as a Dodger fan, ironically) and lived across the river in Jersey. it was unlike anything I had ever heard.
He was known for a 13-year MLB baseball career that saw him play for 9 pennant-winners and 7 World Champions, and he won the AL MVP in 1950. However, in the Tri-State area around NYC, it was his broadcasting of Yankee games on WPIX that won the hearts of younger Yankee fans. Whether the occasional malaprop, the leaving early to "get over the George Washington Bridge", calling someone a "huckleberry" for making an error, he was beloved, and representing those few things a Yankee-hater like myself could actually like about them.
My mother, who raised me with the warning that I was to vote Democratic and root for the National League, often told me about what a great player the Scooter was, much to her chagrin. He was the ultimate Yankee, and I, along with baseball fans everywhere, send my condolences to his bride, Cora, his children, grandchildren, and the rest of the Yankee Nation.
P.S. I STILL want the Red Sox to win the AL EAST!