Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Holy Cow! The Phil Rizzuto Museum in Hillside

Part of our visit to the Eaton Store was a delightful conversation with a volunteer who shared her lifelong passion for baseball. Fittingly, our next stop was to a barn just behind the store, where Hillside residents honor one of their own: Yankee shortstop and broadcasting legend Phil Rizzuto.

Loyal Yankees listeners will remember that the Scooter often talked about living in New Jersey, and his dedication to his adopted hometown showed in his friendly demeanor around town. According to locals, he was always willing to stop and talk, and he was as genuine in person as he was on TV and radio.

The Phil Rizzuto Museum takes up a relatively small space on the Woodruff House/Eaton Store property, but it's chock full of Scooter memorabilia. During our visit, Ivan and I were regaled with stories from a local resident who was 10 years old when he met Phil, starting a friendship that spanned the rest of Rizzuto's life. He walked us through a comprehensive exhibit of newspaper clippings that chronicles the Yankee legend's playing and announcing careers. Nearby a "Holy cow!" banner is posted, a memento recalling the six buses of Hillside residents who made the trip to Cooperstown to witness Phil's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Other baseball and cow-related memorabilia are displayed on the wall and museum cases, many of them gifts from Phil or his wife Cora.

I'm a Met fan, but I found the museum to be both informative and fun, so I imagine that Yankee fans would enjoy it a lot. Don't be a huckleberry - check it out sometime!

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