06 October 2014

the phil rizzuto number memorial patch

aside from 3 seasons spent serving in the us navy during world war ii, phil rizzuto was the yankees' shortstop from 1941 through 1954, and he remained in a part-time role as a player for two seasons beyond that.  with rizzuto on the field, the yankees won 7 world series in 9 appearances, losing only to the 1942 cardinals and 1955 brooklyn dodgers.

for 40 years after his retirement as a player, from 1957 through 1996, rizzuto was a yankee broadcaster who used the phrase 'holy cow' with abandon.  when he passed away at the age of 89 in august of 2007, the team added his retired number 10 to their left uniform sleeve in tribute (they were already wearing a black armband for teammate cory lidle who had died the previous offseason).

even though the memorial came about towards the end of the season, there are plenty of examples of it in the 2008 card releases.  here's an alex rodriguez card from topps' 2008 national baseball card day effort
and topps also gave us this joba chamberlain card as part of the 2008 topps yankees 14-card factory set
i thought that it would be appropriate for the yankee shortstop, derek jeter, to represent this memorial in the binder, but this was the only card i had of jeter wearing the memorial - a 2008 upper deck starquest insert
and there are better examples of the memorial than that.  one of those better examples is not this 2008 upper deck piece of history phil hughes card
no, this 2008 upper deck national baseball card day ian kennedy card gives a good look at the memorial
but he's wearing the away grays, and it would be nice to feature a card of the memorial on the home pinstripes.  how about this 2008 upper deck timeline card of alex rodriguez?
that would work except that i like a card of chien-ming wang better.  no, not this 2009 upper deck card
i was referring to this 2008 upper deck first edition card of wang
the photo comes from the same game as the one upper deck used on the 2009 release, but i prefer the simpler design of the 2008 release.

rizzuto was the 1950 american league mvp in what clearly was his best offensive season.  he hit .324 that year, 50 points higher than his career average, and set career highs with 200 hits and 125 runs scored.  rizzuto did not garner much support for the hall of fame in the years he was on the ballot (he peaked at 38.4% of the vote in his final year on the ballot), but was selected by the veteran's committee in 1994.  in a perfect world, that would mean good things for the likes of alan trammell, bert campaneris, and even tony fernandez - all of whom had better jaws scores than rizzuto.

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