In an effort to avoid being bested by their pal Leela, Tony and Bernie (the lovable twins from Mike DeNero’s Neighborhood) allow me to present Tony and Bernie’s “Big Apple” Stash. As the lads are twins, and are usually forced to share, why stop at toys, snacks, and sportscards? They will also take turns authoring this column, a monthly ode to their favorite vintage sportscards picturing New York legends. This month, Tony takes a stab at waxing poetic about one of his all-time favorite players. Unlike Bernie, Tony’s spelling skills are well honed, especially for a 5-year-old. Enjoy!
The 1953 Bowman Phil Rizzuto & Billy Martin
First and foremost, Happy Memorial Day to everyone! Today, I'd like to tell you a little about one of my favorite cards: the 1953 Bowman Phil "the Scooter" Rizzuto & Billy Martin. I love this one because the front is just a picture -- no graphics -- and because Phil and Billy look like two young Italian kids from the Bronx who, but for donning their pinstripes and Yankees caps, could just as easily be sporting leisure suits and fedoras on their way to see “Bones” (a.k.a. Frank Sinatra) at the Paramount. Hey, I know I’m only five years old, but I’m mature beyond my years!
The image on the card makes them appear as if they're having the time of their lives -- and I imagine they were, as the Yanks would go on to win their fifth straight World Series title later that season. I'm willing to bet that Billy probably celebrated that championship with an all-nighter at the Copacabana or Toots Shor's with Whitey and Mickey while Phil and his wife, Cora, probably spent the evening watching The Jackie Gleason Show after a home cooked meal. Who actually had the better time? You be the judge. Me? I’ll take the home-cooked lasagna and canolis for dessert and a little conversation with Phil and Cora to wash it down!