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Phil Rizzuto, the Hall of Fame baseball player who spent 11 years playing for the New York Yankees and then more than four decades talking about them as a broadcaster, died yesterday at age 89 of complications from pneumonia.
KC's View:
It has been both wonderful and kind of sad to read all the tributes and obituaries about the ballplayer and broadcaster best known in the New York area as “Scooter.” This won’t be a unique memory, but it is a highly personal one…

While I’m not old enough to have seen Rizzuto play, I grew up with his voice. As a kid, I would listen to Yankee games on hot summer nights, hearing the sights and sounds as described by Mel Allen, Red Barber, Jerry Coleman, and, yes, Phil Rizzuto, with his “Holy cow!” and his enthusiastic calls that made me think that this was a guy having a great time … and those memories are as vivid as if they happened yesterday instead of during the late fifties and early sixties. What those men had – and what they expressed in different ways – was real and consuming passion for the games they called.

I can remember my dad would come to my room at 10 o’clock or so and tell me to turn off the radio, that eventually I’d fall asleep and the radio would stay on, wasting electricity. And I’d turn it off, reluctantly, and then, as soon as he was gone, would turn it on again, and hang on every verb and adjective and adverb, living those games as if I were in the stands.

A lot of people are mourning Phil Rizzuto today, but I think they are mourning something more. They are grieving for days gone by that we’ll never see again. And I think in some small sense, we are all mourning for our childhoods.