Lazar: Rinaldo Ardizoia, oldest living Yankee, reflects on his career

From Louie Lazar at the New York Times on April 27, 2015:

Rinaldo Ardizoia sat near a bay window inside his pink San Francisco house, gazing at a bulky wooden television set — a 22-inch Zenith with a slightly rounded screen. Sounds from a ballgame — a cheering crowd, announcers’ banter, fastballs popping into a catcher’s mitt — filled his living room.

“Crawford, come on,” Ardizoia, 95, said. San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford stood at home plate, awaiting a pitch.

It was afternoon, and sunlight passed through a stained-glass window, casting a soft glow onto a shelf of baseballs with a young Ardizoia’s face printed on them. Known as Rugger, Ardizoia is the oldest living former Yankee, according to the Society for American Baseball Research and confirmed by the team.

One of the Yankees’ top pitching prospects in the early 1940s before his career was interrupted by World War II, Ardizoia pitched two innings against the St. LouisBrowns on the last day of April in 1947. According to SABR, he is the oldest living former player to appear in just one major league game.

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Originally published: April 27, 2015. Last Updated: April 27, 2015.