No, I’m not referring to my anniversary evening, nice as that was. When Meatloaf was looking for THE baseball voice to perform the role of the baseball announcer in the middle of his classic hit (the subject line of this post), he chose a voice familiar to every Yankee fan and millions of others: Phil Rizzuto.
Phil later said he had no idea what the song was REALLY about, and I don’t doubt him for a minute. When I lived in New York, I probably listened to parts of more than two hundred games. The Hall of Fame former shortstop of the Yankees back in the days of Dimaggio, was unassuming and totally himself. His worst insult was to call somebody a ‘huckleberry’. He loved his Yankees and was an unabashed ‘homer’. His devotion to family and the realization that baseball was just a game were always refreshing, as was his candor about his own shortcomings. Listening to Rizutto was like listening to one of your uncles who happened to know a lot about baseball.
I hadn’t heard his voice in years when I found out that he had passed away. I’m an unabashed Yankee fan, and a bit of a ‘homer’ myself. My thanks to Phil for being one of us, for living his life the same way he played shortstop – gracefully.