New York Yankees all-time best shortstops – No. 2: Phil Rizzuto
Phil Rizzuto started his incredible 13-year career with a front-row seat to one of the greatest accomplishments in baseball history – DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. If this wasn’t a good enough start to his career, he also hit .307, scored 65 runs, and drove in 46 in 1941.
Rizzuto’s Hall of Fame career included five all-star games, a runner-up MVP finish in 1949 and an MVP trophy in 1950. He played in at least 125 games 11 times. He also led the majors in sacrifice bunts four straight seasons, in which he averaged over 23 a season. For his career, he had 193 sacrifice bunts.
He could steal some bases too, swiping double-digit bags eight times in his first nine seasons. He also walked 651 times, but only struck out 398 times.
Like so many stars of his era, Rizzuto lost three seasons in his prime to military service during World War II. He would have easily cleared 2,000 hits if he had those three years back.
He held his own defensively too. Six times he was first or second in the AL in putouts by a shortstop, four times in the top three in assists, and seven times he was in the top two in double plays.
He played in an astonishing nine World Series and took home eight rings. His accomplishments were long and plentiful, and he earned his place in Cooperstown.
Luckily for generations of fans, Rizzuto became the voice of the Yankees, a position he held for 40 years.