‘Holy cow!’: Phil Rizzuto has a corner named after him in Queens

Famed Yankees shortstop and radio announcer Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto now has a street corner in Queens named after him. The hilly intersection of 64th Street and 78th Avenue in Glendale is where Rizzuto grew up playing ball in the street.

Professionally, Rizzuto played 13 years for the Yankees winning seven World Series Championships and nine American League Pennants. At 5-foot-6, he was short for a ball player. They called him “Scooter” because of his ability to squeeze a double from a bunt.

After retiring from playing, he went on to a 40-year career as the Yankees game announcer. Rizzuto’s’s trademark phrases included cursing with the word “huckleberries,” and shouting “Holy Cow,” after home runs.

The renaming ceremony was attended by more than 150 people, including the Rizzuto family, neighborhood volunteers, and several Yankees staffers. Marty Appel, a producer for WPIX, read a letter from Bill White, Rizzuto’s longtime broadcast partner.

“He never got enough credit for allowing his broadcast partners to step up and find their own voice,” White’s letter read, adding, “especially after the seventh inning when he would often leave for coffee and never come back.”

Rizzuto grew up in Glendale as the son of a trolley driver. He started playing baseball at PS 68 and later played for Richmond Hill High School.

“This corner meant so much to us,” Phil Stoehr, Rizzuto’s nephew, said at the renaming ceremony. “Out there everyday, stickball, slapball, boxball, punchball, slapball, stoopball.”

While with the Yankees, he missed three seasons in order to serve in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War. He told stories from his past in between game play. It was these stories that captured the imagination of fan Charlie Vavruska.

“Nowadays, you have something like the sabermetrics and they’re talking about all these statistics and they’re bringing up such meaningless things,” Vavruska said while handing out pamphlets during the ceremony. “But Phil would bring a lot of cultural literacy.”

The corner renaming was arranged by Christina Wilkenson, president of the Newtown Historical Society. She gathered the petitions to get the corner renamed after him.

“He’s probably the most famous person from this entire area. So it’s long overdue.”

Source : https://gothamist.com/news/holy-cow-phil-rizzuto-has-a-corner-named-after-him-in-queens

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