Phil Rizzuto 1952 #011
by William Szczepanek
The Phil Rizzuto card from 1952 #011 is another of those cards of players from the 1940s who were stars at the time of the emergence of Topps' complete baseball card sets. Phil Rizzuto was a leader for the Yankees throughout the 40s and the take charge guy during the glory years of the early 50s. What he did best was to help win baseball games. The "Scooter" got his nickname from the way he ran the bases, often getting on for the power guys Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra.
Rizzuto grew up as a Dodgers fan and tried out for the Dodgers in 1937, but was rejected by manager, Casey Stengel, who told Rizzuto he could do better shining shoes. Rizzuto is generally known for his play as a great defensive shortstop and field general for the Yankees.
He was not a leader in offensive statistics other than leading the league 4 times in sacrifice bunts. He was considered one of the best bunters in baseball history - a lost art today. It is painful to watch players today try to sacrifice a runner. Rizzuto could bunt the ball no matter where it was pitched. He was a 5-time All Star and AL MVP in 1950. He was second in MVP voting in 1949 behind Ted Williams.
His career statistics were not spectacular, batting .273 with 38 home runs and 562 runs batted in over 13 seasons. Going at 5' 8" and around 150 pounds Rizzuto excelled at making double plays and fielding ground balls. He was voted top major league shortstop for four consecutive years, 1949 through 1952, by The Sporting News.
In World Series competition Rizzuto still holds records for shortstops, including the most career gamesplayed, at bats, singles, walks, times on base, stolen bases, assists, putouts and double plays. The fans loved Rizzuto and after his career he spent 40 years in the Yankees booth as an announcer. He called Maris's 61st home run among many other great Yankee moments.
Phil Rizzuto was inducted into the Hall of Fame by Veteran's Committee as Player in 1994.You can check out Rizzuto's statistics at Baseball Reference.