I covered the Yankees from 1998-2005, and during that period I got to meet and see many of the legends in spring training and at the Stadium. The thing I remember most about Phil Rizzuto was his approachability.
You knew who he was. You knew he was a special part of that team’s history, but he never let you know it.
Joe DiMaggio had the Yankees hold him an elevator and wouldn’t ride up with us common folk. Not so with Phil. You’d ask him a question and he’d give you a long and thoughtful answer, and he treated all the writers the same, whether you wrote for a smaller paper or the New York Times. It wasn’t unusual to be in the dugout at Legends Field and have him sit next to you and strike up a conversation.
He treated you with kindness and respect. Maybe the best thing I could say about Phil Rizzuto was he liked people, which is only fitting because people liked him.