The Rizzo Family Legacy

Vito Onofrio Rizzo and his wife Marie came from Palermo in Sicily, Italy to America in the early 1900s.

Their son Vito Rizzo and his siblings grew up in Little Italy in Chicago on Taylor Street. Vito worked through the Great Depression, through various jobs including unloading boxcars by hand on the railroad, as well as playing and scouting for professional baseball. When he met his wife, the two of them migrated to the Northwest side of the city where they had their three children – Vito William, Philip “Butch” and Mary. Vito lived to be 104 years old.

A Familt legacy

After years passed, Vito’s son Phil “Butch” had four children – Phil Jr., Mike, Bernie and Kim. He and his wife Bernadine planted their roots on Waveland Avenue where he, like his father, worked various jobs ranging from sales to construction, beef and hot dog stands to fine dining Italian restaurants, as well as decades with Chicago Streets and Sanitation. The most poignant and passionate work, though, was his career in professional baseball. Butch wasn’t your typical army veteran—he carried a baseball bat instead of a rifle and was in the special services for entertaining the troops with America’s pastime. He was among the inaugural class of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame, a Baseball Operations Senior Advisor for his last 11 years and had a career in baseball spanning over half a century.

 

As the four Rizzo kids grew up under Butch’s wing, they lived a full and tight-knit life together, always playing neighborhood sports at their beloved Shabbona Park. From a young age, Mike took after Butch in his love of the game, which catapulted his successful career in Major League Baseball.

The 4 Rizzo Kids
Beyond the family baseball legacy, all of Butch’s kids and grandkids adopted a determined and strong philosophy of life through each of these generations, which has gotten them to incredible places through an array of challenging circumstances. These foundational pillars include loyalty, family, dedication, devotion, grit, grind, hard work, standing up for what is right and having peoples’ backs.

This is the Rizzo family legacy, yet the story continues…through RizKids – The Rizzo Family Foundation.

Mike and Sonny