Hey, they named a park in New Jersey after Phil Rizzuto, the Yankees' Hall of Fame shortstop and broadcaster.
Holy Cow! Former New York Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto was on hand Wednesday to dedicate a park named in his honor. But those huckleberries eliminated the three baseball fields that used to be there in favor of a soccer field!
There is a soccer field, a gazebo with a replica of the Yankee Stadium facade, and some oversized bats and balls at Phil Rizzuto Park. But there are no traces of the three baseball diamonds that used to be home to a local youth baseball league.
The park, at one of Union County's busiest intersections where Union, Elizabeth and Hillside meet, is named after the Hall of Fame shortstop and 40-year Yankees broadcaster. With the area's growing Latino population, it was practical for the soccer field to supplant baseball diamonds at the site, said Angel Estrada, chairman of the county freeholder board.
"We have the soccer field because it's what our kids need today," he said.
And of course, the subject of his musical stardom came up:
"I want to tell you about that huckleberry," Rizzuto said, using one of his favorite expressions to describe Meat Loaf, a huge Yankee fan. "He really tricked me into it. He said, 'Phil, I have an idea for a song, I want you to come. We just want you to say these words.'
"All of a sudden I started reading the paper he put in front of me, and I said, 'Wait a minute: Why is every play a close play?' Finally we got through it. A year later, my son calls me up and says, 'Dad, you're a rock star. We got your record here, 'Paradise By The Dashboard Light.' He had to play it about six times before I realized what it was about."
Rizzuto said he enjoyed the recording session, terming it "a good day's pay."
"I got in trouble with some of the nuns because of some of the language," he said. "But then they forgot about it."
There's just one thing The Scooter still wonders about from his fictional account of the front-seat follies.
"We never found out whether he made it or not."
Thanks to 26 Rings Around New York for the link.Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 22, 2004 to Baseball | TrackBack