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Holy Cow! Rizzuto Dies at 89

There was a certain amount of eye-rolling when Phil Rizzuto, the scrappy Yankees shortstop who died today at 89, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. The Scooter had repeatedly been denied entry by the voting sportswriters on the grounds that his stats were good, not great (.273 lifetime batting average, one MVP year) and that his presence on seven World Series–winning teams was dumb luck. It was said at the time that his pal Yogi Berra had talked to the veterans' committee, which digs up early players forgotten by history, and smoothed the way for his old buddy Rizzuto. This may or may not have been true, but, either way, it was ridiculous.