About 50 residents and Yankee fans gathered on the corner of 64th Street and 78th Avenue in Glendale to honor Glendale native and Yankee legend Phil Rizzuto last weekend during a street co-naming ceremony on June 26.
Councilman Robert Holden, state elected officials and other organizations unveiled a plaque named “Phil ‘Scooter’ Rizzuto Corner” in Rizzuto’s hometown on Sunday.
Rizzuto was raised in Glendale, where he started his baseball career at P.S. 68 Cambridge in Ridgewood. He grew up with six siblings, living in Glendale until 1993. Rizzuto later became a Yankee, earning nine American League Pennants, seven World Series Championship titles and the American League Most Valuable Player award in 1950.
Rizzuto was nicknamed “the Scooter” for his base running skills. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994. After retiring, Rizzuto’s 1,217 career double plays ranked second in major league history, along with his fielding average which was second among American League shortstops.
Holy cow! A clip from @BobHoldenNYC’s Glendale street co-naming for baseball legend Phil “Scooter” Rizzuto. He grew up in Glendale and played baseball for Richmond Hill High School. I am proud to represent the Queens neighborhoods where iconic figures like Phil Rizzuto are made! pic.twitter.com/gqtkRVbkA7
— Jenifer Rajkumar (@JeniferRajkumar) June 27, 2022
On top of building a legacy on the baseball field, Rizzuto served his country during the Second World War. He missed three seasons while serving in the U.S. Navy, where he was stationed at Norfolk Naval Training Station in 1943 and later led a crew in the Pacific.
Rizzuto contracted malaria while in New Guinea and was sent to Australia to recover at a U.S. Navy hospital. While he was there, he started baseball tournaments for wounded sailors.
Later in his life, Rizzuto spent 40 years as a radio and television sports announcer. He also raised millions of dollars for St. Joseph’s School for the Blind through his annual celebrity golf tournament and donated his earnings from commercials and book deals.
“I submitted this co-naming to the council because Phil Rizzuto was not only a great ball player for the Yankees but a legend in broadcasting and he’s one of our own,” Holden said. “When you think of watching the Yankees on channel, you think of Phil’s voice. It’s iconic for so many New Yorkers who grew up during those four decades. Naming a street after Scooter is a home run.”
Rizzuto’s nephew, Phil Stoehr, grew up in the same house as him. Stoehr remembered how exciting it was to get seats to all the Yankee games as a kid.
“My grandmother would always go to the day games during the summer and take me and my brother,” Stoehr said. “We’d hop on the subway and go up north to the stadium where we’d always get tickets.”
Stoehr shared that his great-grandfather bought their Glendale house at 7801 64th St. in the 1920s, where he lived with his immediate family on the top floor, his aunt and uncle on the lower level and his grandparents in the basement.
“In some respects, he was just my uncle, but in others, it was very exciting to have my uncle play for the Yankees,” Stoehr said. “I know he would be very, very proud of this event. My grandparents would also be so proud looking down. They would be so honored.”