“I’d like to give a little recognition to Yogi Berra today”, Quinn said. His close friends from the Hill, specially Garagiola, knew differently.
“It ain’t over ’til it’s over” is among eight of them included in Bartlett’s.
“OK”, she said. “I’ll go out with you”. Though slight in stature, he was a giant in the most significant of ways through his service to his country, compassion for others and genuine enthusiasm for the game he loved. “He will truly be missed”.
Sometimes overshadowed by Yankee icons Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle, many believe Berra was the most feared hitter in the lineup.
“No! Say it ain’t so”. He wasn’t a huge physical presence, like Dave Winfield or Willie Stargell. Born to Italian immigrants, he grew up in an ethnic part of St. Louis. I think that’s what we would all like to have. These stories have been told and retold since the bulletin made it an official game.
“Through the years, a few of these things [Berra said] would pop into my head and I would use them” in sermons, he said.
Following his playing days, Berra dedicated himself to helping others. He was a part of that famous “We Are Family” 1979 Pirates team that won the World Series, and even led the NL in intentional walks in 1983!
But in 1999, Berra finally relented, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the Yankees’ season-opener. It also notes he appeared in fifteen All-Star Games, and won three American League Most Valuable Player awards. While Huggins never had any power, his on-base percentage rates were enough to keep him in the league for many years.
Growing up, he was anything but a natural.
He soon learned Carmen had mistaken him for Terry Moore, a St. Louis Cardinals outfielder.
He reached the major leagues late in the 1946 season and homered in his first at-bat.
His breakthrough season came in 1948 when he hit.315 with 14 homers and 98 RBIs while continuing to improve his fielding. Known for sayings that were 90 percent nonsensical and 50 percent insightful, Berra was also the great catcher of all time.
Yet, there was still one thing left unsaid about the sweet, funny, humble Yankees great that was Yogi Berra, who died on Tuesday at age 90.
Berra was the AL MVP in 1951, 1954 and 1955. He holds World Series records for most hits (71) and most games (75). It was directly due to his scalpel-sharp sense of humor that deflected attention from his Hall of Fame exploits. “But egads you gotta be somethin” to get in’. The left-hander is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA and could play an important role in the postseason for the NL East leaders if they hang on to win the division.
But the lovable Berra did not capture the public’s fancy simply because of his abilities to hit and catch a baseball, as great as those abilities were, but by delighting Americans – as a pitchman and otherwise – with his modest charm, friendly demeanor and tangled expressions. He took jobs in a coal yard, as a truck driver and in a shoe factory. Amateur guitar player. Reluctant cook.
Former Yankees fan favorite Paul O’Neill fondly recalls one of his best days at the ballpark.
Dale Berra, a major league infielder, who briefly played for his father on the Yankees in 1985; Tim, who played one season for the NFL’s Baltimore Colts, and Lawrence Jr. It was the time he spent with Yogi in an equipment manager’s office.
This is being written before Friday night’s home game against West Central Conference rival O’Hara, but no matter the outcome of that game S-C is having a memorable run, getting out to a 5-0 start in its first season at the new Tiger Stadium.
There’s a big picture of the play at his museum in Montclair, New Jersey. Following the game, Girardi remembered his old friend, and considered it a privilege to know Berra.
He tickled TV viewers in recent years by bringing his malapropisms to a commercial with the AFLAC duck.
“You say you’re from Montclair”, Berra asked me during a conversation we had in 1998. I said I was supposed to interview Chuck Tanner about Duane Ward during batting practice. “Why don’t you surprise me?”