I’m a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan. While he was from St. Louis, my all-time favorite player never played for the Cardinals. In fact, he played for my all-time least favorite team, the evil New York Yankees.
Yogi Berra has been one of my heroes since I was a little boy growing up in the 1950s. To this day, he remains one of my heroes, and I even have a small plastic statue of Yogi on my credenza in my study in my home.
Yogi was first and foremost an incredible baseball player. He played in more World Series than any player in baseball history, appearing in 21 of them and winning 13. He was an all-star for 15 seasons and the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times.
He managed both the Yankees and the Mets to pennant-winning seasons and World Series appearances.
But he was more than a great baseball player. He was a philosopher and a cultural icon.
It is an understatement to say that he had a way with words. The man who coined the phrase “de je vu all over again” and “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over”, was something of a poet. Like great poetry, his famous quotes often appeared oxymoronic, but when you thought about them, they made perfectly good sense.
My favorite is what he once said about a Manhattan restaurant: “It’s so crowded, nobody ever goes there anymore.”
Other Yogi-isms included the following:
The lousy teams are good this year.
The future ain’t what it used to be.
If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.
It gets late early out there.
It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.
Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.
If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.
He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.
I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.
Yogi is in Heaven now where if they have a baseball team (which I’m sure they do, since it’s Heaven, after all), they now have one Heaven of a catcher!
Yogi also reminded us, “You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”
I wish I could go to Yogi’s funeral, but it will probably be so crowded nobody will attend it.
Good-bye, Yogi. Thanks for being my all-time favorite baseball player. You were the only Yankee this Cardinal fan ever loved.