Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra was a legendary baseball catcher, manager, and coach who spent 18 of his 19 seasons playing for the New York Yankees. Well-known for his “yogi-isms,” his wisdom and paradoxical wit is evident in his list of quotable quotes. In tribute to this late, great legend, we’ve compiled a look back on his best yogi-isms for an insight into his life.
I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.
Born to Italian immigrant parents in 1925, young Yogi was the middle child in a family of five. He attended a Catholic high school in St. Louis, growing up on Elizabeth Avenue with Joe Garagiola. His baseball career began in the American Legion leagues, where he was bestowed his famous nickname by friends who joked he resembled a Hindu yogi sitting around with his arms and legs crossed.
In baseball, you don’t know nothing.
In 1942, the St. Louis Cardinals signed Yogi’s childhood friend, Joe Garagiola. The Cardinals’ team president at the time, Branch Rickey, knew he would be leaving to the Brooklyn Dodgers and planned to sign Yogi to his new team. Unfortunately for Rickey the Yankees signed Berra before Rickey could pick him up for the Dodgers. The rest, as they say, is history.
If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.
When he turned 18 less than a year later, Yogi joined the Navy – it was WWII, and the young Yogi trained as gunner’s mate on the USS Bayfield during the D-Day invasion of France. He was fired upon but not hit, remaining stationed on the boat for twelve days, firing machine guns and launching rockets to provide cover for Army forces landing on the beach. Berra served the remainder of the year in North Africa and Italy, returning home to the US after suffering a hand wound.
Bill Dickey is learning me his experience.
After his wartime service, Berra returned to the Minor Leagues, playing for the Newark Bears. He was mentored by fellow Navy veteran Bill Dickey, and was called up for his first Major League game September 22, 1946. That season he played 7 games. The following year he played 83, surpassing more than 100 games in each of the following fourteen years.
Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.
Yogi Berra’s career with the Yankees was legendary, racking up 10 World Series championships, 15 All-Stars, and American League MVP three times. He was a power hitter, excellent at hitting poor pitches, sending low pitches into deep home runs, chopping at high pitches for lines drives. As a catcher Berra is nearly unparalleled,
Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.
Yogi Berra’s funeral will be televised today, September 28 on the YES Network at 10 am. The funeral will be held in at a private ceremony in Montclair, From the outpouring of love it is clear Yogi must have attended many funerals in his day.
It ain’t over till it’s over.
The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center is holding a Memorial Tribute for Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra on October 4, 12-4 pm.
AtDF is hosting an exhibition, Yankee Legends by the acclaimed American artist James Fiorentino on October 22, 6-9 pm, at The Yogi Berra Museum Learning Center. You can purchase tickets here.