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O Holy Cow!: The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto (1997)

Phil Rizzuto, Hart Seely, Tom Peyer

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Some of you may be speaking poetry without realizing it. Those of you who are Phil Rizzuto spent years on the airwaves doing it inadvertently during Yankee baseball broadcasts. Seely and Peyer recognized poetry when they heard it, culling and formatting a book's worth of Rizzuto's between-play chatter.

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THE PENGUIN

O THAT'S GONE!
HOLY COW!
WATCH THE--
Look at the Penguin!
It's not gone.

I was watching him run.
Wait a minute.
When he hit it
That was the funniest run I've ever seen.
Watch this.

[May 31, 1987 / Oakland at New York / Tommy John pitching to Ron Cey / Second inning, no outs, bases empty / Tie score 1-1]

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SQUIRRELS

I.

In the backyard we got a lot of trees.
In our home I've watched them leap
From limb to limb.
Unbelievable.

II.

Did you ever get one in your attic?
They're not too cute
When they get in your attic.
I'll tell you that.

III.

I would not harm a squirrel.
I don't want to get those animal lovers . . .
I got them in my attic.
No, I got,
But I got a squirrel cage
Then took them out in the woods
Over by Yogi's house
And dropped them off.

[June 7, 1991 / Texas at New York / John Habyan pitching to Steve Buechele / Ninth inning, one out, bases empty / Tie score, 4-4]

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BUNS

He has powerful legs and cute buns,
That Henderson.
That was a great shot,
Going to second base there.
There's nothing wrong with that, White.
That's a popular expression.
High, and it's one and one.
His legs were churning.

[May 10, 1987 / New York at Minnesota / Charlie Hudson pitching to Al Newman / Third inning, no outs, bases empty / Yankees lead 4-0]

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GO AHEAD, SEAVER

You know,
Some kid wrote me a letter.
You and Murcer,
I know,
Every time Murcer says
I make oh for four and two errors.
Some guy wrote,
Which I haven't gotten yet,
He wrote it to Yankee Stadium,
But by the way,
You're doing the play-by-play, Seaver.
So go ahead.
I was gonna tell you something,
But I forgot what it was.
Go ahead.

[July 1, 1991 / Cleveland at New York / Lee Guetterman pitching to Chris James / Seventh inning, no outs, bases empty / Yankees lead 6-2]

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THE PRINCE

I.

Last night I was watching TV.
I was watching Arsenio Hall.
And he had Prince on.
I wanna--
What a character he is!
Holy cow!

II.

Entertainer.
Singer.
And he can dance.
He's a little bitty guy.
He had a weird beard.
I tell ya it was--
I couldn't explain it.

III.

It was a real beard.
I mean,
You know how they do it now.
Some of them.
It doesn't come all the way
Up to the sideburns.
It starts,
Then it goes.
You gotta see it to believe it.

[Sept. 10, 1991 / New York at Baltimore / Eric Plunk pitching to Bill Ripken / Second inning, one out, one base runner / Yankees lead 2-1]

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HAIKU

Ice, I can't stand it.
I cannot stand anything
Cold on my body.

[May 31, 1991 / Milwaukee at New York / Julio Machado pitching to Hensley Meulens / Eighth inning, no outs, bases empty / Score tied 2-2]