Rugger Ardizoia, at 95, is the oldest living New York Yankee. He took the mound for only one game, in 1947, but had a long career in the minors paying for The Hollywood Stars, The Washington Chinooks, The Kansas City Blues, The Seattle Raniers, The Oakland Oaks, and the SF Mission Reds. He is only one of seven native Italians to ever play in the majors and spent most of his later years in San Francisco where he still lives today.
One gets enveloped with baseball memorabilia when you duck down to enter his basement filled with wall to wall black and white photos of him and his minor and major league teammates. He has his game playing bats, hats, his orginial glove and cleats, and stacks of fan mail. My favorite piece on the walls is a Western Union Telegram that he was sent after he cursed out the umpire and was fined $25 dollars! He still gets fan mail and requests for his autograph and is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, although I wouldn’t ever want to go head to head with him on the field as an ump!
When I asked him how he stays in shape he says he walks a lot, goes to the gym 3 times a week (that’s 2 more times a week than I do), and he has a vodka night cap before retiring each night. Sounds like a solid regimen Rugger!
BTS photo by Nader Khouri