One of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet in the world of sports and in broadcasting was Phil Rizzuto. The Scooter was so unique, and I was saddened to hear of his death on Tuesday.
Rizzuto played a role in my life and his effort on the field is one reason I am so passionate about the Yankees. Growing up as a kid in New Jersey in the 50s, I watched the Scooter play so hard at shortstop. He had a brilliant career, helping the Yankees win seven World Championships. Rizzuto was a five-time all star and the MVP in 1950.
What really distinguished Rizzuto from so many other great athletes that played the game? It was his Hall of Fame ability as a human being.
One of the most memorable moments in my broadcasting career involved the Scooter. I received a call saying that I would receive the Phil Rizzuto award for contributions to youth in the metropolitan New York area. My friends, it was so special to stand at the podium and receive the award from Phil himself. Yogi Berra was in the crowd too, so I will never forget that.
Growing up it was all about Berra, Rizzuto and Joe DiMaggio. Later on it was Mickey Mantle and company.
My friends, America has lost a true icon. Rizzuto was a beautiful, beautiful human being who was as special as it gets. He was a treasure and a joy, as good as it gets. He will truly be missed by sports fans everywhere.