Note: In light of Yogi Berra’s passing last night at the age of 90, I wanted to dust off a piece I wrote about him three years ago. Many will remember Mr. Berra’s Hall of Fame playing career and funny way with words. He was a character, that’s for sure! But I’m most impressed with the love and devotion he exhibited to his wife of 65 years, Carmen, who passed away in 2012. May the Lord bring comfort and peace to the Berra’s three sons and extended family. -JD
Baseball Hall of Famer and Yankee great Yogi Berra is 87 years old. He still attends spring training, still goes to the ballpark during the regular season and is still married to his beloved wife of 64 years, Carmen.
Lawrence Berra grew up in St. Louis on the same street with another Major League catcher and announcer, Joe Garagiola. He received his nickname from a childhood buddy who thought he looked like an Indian Hindu snake charmer in a movie. Fun-loving and easygoing, Berra embraced the nickname. To his friends and coaches he went from “Lawdie” to “Yogi” overnight. He once wrote his wife an anniversary card and signed it, “Yogi Berra.” She asked him if he was afraid she’d think the card had come from another Yogi.
Yogi Berra is also known for murdering the English language and offering funny observations, not all intentional. His most famous malapropism is probably, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” Maybe you’ve even quoted it.
In honor of the opening of the baseball season this week, I thought I’d share some “Yogi-isms” with you. There’s a little Yogi in all of us, or at least there should be. From what I can see, this aging baseball great is a man without a hint of guile or arrogance. He appears to be a joyful and quiet gentleman who doesn’t take himself too seriously. He also doesn’t mind people having fun at his expense, although he once said, “I never said most of the things I said.”
So here’s to Yogi Berra and the start of another glorious season of America’s pastime!
“You can observe a lot by watching.”
“If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”
“Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
“It’s deja vu all over again.”
“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“I usually take a two-hour nap, from one o’clock to four.”
“If the people don’t want to come out to the park, nobody’s going to stop them.”
“Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel.”
He was once asked his cap size at the start of spring training: “I don’t know, I’m not in shape.”
Asked why the Yankees lost the 1960 World Series to Pittsburgh: “We made too many wrong mistakes.”
Asked about Red Sox legend Ted Williams: “He is a big clog in their machine.”
The wife of New York Mayor John V. Lindsay once told Yogi he looked cool despite the heat. He replied, “You don’t look so hot, either.”
On Yogi Berra Appreciation Day: “I want to thank you for making this day necessary.”
He was once asked if first baseman Don Mattingly had exceeded his expectations this season. He replied, “I’d say he’s done more than that.”
When asked if he wanted his pizza cut into four or eight pieces, he replied, “Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.”
I’ll close with a line that might resonate with all those with children playing ball:
“Little League baseball is a good thing,” he once said, “’cause it keeps the parents off the streets and the kids out of the house.”
He’s actually right about that one!