You won’t find a salute to very many Yankees on these pages, but then, this was someone very special.
One of baseball’s great ambassadors, Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, has died.
Known to generations of fans for both his on-field work and off-field personality, Berra leaves behind a warm, much-beloved legacy.
In 19 big league years, all but one for the Yankees, Berra slashed .285/.348/.483. He was a 15-time All-Star and three-time American League MVP (1951, 1954-55). From 1950-52, no AL catcher caught more attempted base stealers than him. Berra holds the career home-run record for AL catchers and collected 100+ RBIs four years in a row.
In all, Berra played on 14 pennant-winning and 10 World Championship teams, more than any other player in history. His World Series records, 63 games and 71 hits, are still the most by any MLB catcher. Among MLB catchers for all-time, Berra is fourth in home runs (358) and runs scored (1,175), first in RBI (1,430), and eighth in slugging percentage.
After his playing days, Berra remained in the game as both a coach and manager of the Yankees, Mets, and Astros. He managed the 1964 Yankees and 1973 Mets to the World Series, losing both bids.
I didn’t really say everything I said
At home behind the plate, Berra talked to everyone—pitchers, umpires, and batters (except the rookies, who Berra acknowledged needed their concentration unbroken). He once said only Red Sox great Ted Williams ever told him to shut up.
Off the field, Berra was known for his “Yogisms,” sayings that found their way into American’s every day speech. President George W. Bush, himself known for more than the occasional malaprop, once quipped that some might wonder if Berra was his speechwriter.
Berra grew up in St. Louis, playing baseball with neighbor and future big league catcher Joe Garagiola. He was nicknamed “Yogi” for his crosslegged posture between innings. A World War II Navy veteran, a 19-year old Berra landed on D-Day at the Battle of Normandy.
The cartoon character Yogi Bear may have been named for Yogi Berra, though executives with the cartoon company, Hanna-Barbera, denied that. Berra reportedly sued for defamation, though he suit was later dropped.
In 1972, Berra was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with 85.6% of the vote.
Dale Berra, Yogi’s son, played in 11 MLB seasons with the Pirates, Yankees, and Astros.
Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra was 90.