Phil Rizzo, the father of Nationals President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo, has died, the team announced Saturday. He was 90 years old.
Phil was a senior advisor for his son in the Nationals’ front office. He played in the minor-leagues during the 1950s before hanging up the cleats and becoming a scout. A scout for over 40 years, Phil worked for nine different teams including both the Arizona Diamondbacks (1999-2005) and Nationals (2009-2020), both of which also employed his son at the time.
He was an inaugural member of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2008. Phil is credited with being the first scout to file a report on Kentucky standout Brandon Webb, who won the 2006 NL Cy Young Award in Arizona, and signing players such as Bob Wickman, Mike Matheny and Dick Schofield.
Mike and Phil had the chance to celebrate World Series titles together both with the Diamondbacks and Nationals. Following the announcement of his father’s death, Mike issued a statement via the Nationals’ Twitter account.
“My dad is totally responsible for where I’m at today,” he wrote. “Not only the way he brought me up in baseball, but that he gave me the love of the game, and we worked out hard together for me to be come a good player. He taught me how to work hard, be aggressive, go after what you want and get it done.”
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