“It ain’t over till it’s over.” (Yogi Berra)
I am a lifetime Boston Red Sox fan and for most of my life the New York Yankees have been the bane of my existence, but it is with much love, respect and sorrow I say that Yogi Berra has passed away.
Sadly, one of the greatest and most beloved New York Yankees of all times has passed away, Yogi Berra is dead at age of 90. His skill on the field as a catcher was certain and the man was a winner in all things on and off the baseball diamond. The man behind the mask and known to so many for his Yogisms will be sorely missed. He was born Lawrence Peter Berra was born on May 12, 1925, in the Italian enclave of St. Louis known as the Hill, and grew up to be one of the greatest, most unique and lovable Yankee icons of all time. Maybe greater than all his World Series wins, too numerous All-star appearances, 3 MVP’s, Yogi Berra served two-years in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving as a gunner’s mate in the D-Day invasion, and had already played three seasons for the Yankees.
Yogi is the last of the all time greats, they just don’t make them like this anymore.
Yogi Berra, one of baseball’s greatest catchers and characters, who as a player was a mainstay of 10 Yankee championship teams and as a manager led both the Yankees and Mets to the World Series — but who may be more widely known as an ungainly but lovable cultural figure, inspiring a cartoon character and issuing a seemingly limitless supply of unwittingly witty epigrams known as Yogi-isms — died on Tuesday. He was 90.
His death was reported by the Yankees and by the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J. Before moving to an assisted living facility in nearby West Caldwell, in 2012, Berra had lived for many years in neighboring Montclair.
In 1949, early in Berra’s Yankee career, his manager assessed him this way in an interview in The Sporting News: “Mr. Berra,” Casey Stengel said, “is a very strange fellow of very remarkable abilities.”
And so he was, and so he proved to be. Universally known simply as Yogi, probably the second most recognizable nickname in sports — even Yogi was not the Babe — Berra was not exactly an unlikely hero, but he was often portrayed as one: an All-Star for 15 consecutive seasons whose skills were routinely underestimated; a well-built, appealingly open-faced man whose physical appearance was often belittled; and a prolific winner — not to mention a successful leader — whose intellect was a target of humor if not outright derision.
Yogi Berra Highlights
Except for maybe Babe Ruth, Lou Gerig and Joe Dimaggio, Yogi may just be the greatest Yankee of all time and certainly belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of Yankee players.
Beyond the historic moments and individual accomplishments, what most distinguished Berra’s career was how often he won. From 1946 to 1985, as a player, coach and manager, Berra appeared in a remarkable 21 World Series. Playing on powerful Yankee teams with teammates like Rizzuto and Joe DiMaggio early on and then Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle, Berra starred on World Series winners in 1947, ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ’56 and ’58. He was a backup player on the championship teams of 1961 and ’62. (He also played on World Series losers in 1955, ’57, ’60 and ’63.) All told, his Yankee teams won the American League pennant 14 out of 17 years. He still holds Series records for games played, plate appearances, hits and doubles.
No other player has been a champion so often.
Perhaps what made Yogi Berra stand out to me as the greatest Yankee was his sense of humor, unique style and accessibility. I have used “Yogi-isms” many times wen writing and in my everyday life in and out of work. My favorite is probably, ” It’s like deja vu all over again.” Of course followed by a close second and third of, “It ain’t over `till it’s over” and “I really didn’t say everything I said.”
If you ever get a chance, go to the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center.
65 Year Anniversary of D-Day – Yogi Berra Feature