The world lost a legend on Tuesday, and his name is Yogi Berra. Berra appeared in a record 21 World Series, and of 14 World Series Finals, won 10 titles with the New York Yankees. Whether you’re a Yankees fan specifically, baseball fan more generally, or just love sports, Berra is a man worth learning about and remembering for his contributions to the game.
Yogi Berra was born into an Italian-immigrant home in St. Louis, where he was never really much into school. So — maybe this rings a bell with some of you — it was a good thing he was such a remarkable baseball player.
He was drafted into the majors almost as soon as he was eligible, and had an incredible career.
But however great a baseball player Yogi Berra was, (and he was one of – if not the – greatest), he was just as well known for his quick wit, humor, courage, and kindness, and just as well known for his character.
He was a true gem. And it doesn’t end there.
On top of his accolades and warm personality, Yogi was a Purple Heart recipient in WWII. He was shot in battle shortly after invading Normandy while serving in the Navy. He married Carmen Short in 1949 and the pair were together until her death in 2014, shortly after their 65th wedding anniversary. He has truly an amazing life story.
Yogi died peacefully of natural causes, on the same day he debuted in the MLB, 69 years earlier.
Along with all that is mentioned about Yogi Berra above, he may be most well-known for his “Yogi-isms”. However you want to describe them: insightful, funny, quirky, you name it – Yogi had an incredibly unique perspective on life, and I believe that his message is so important for student-athletes to hear, to honor, and to remember.
We can’t take sports – or life – too seriously. Be good, do good, and enjoy the ride.
Some of My Favorite Yogi Berra Lines
“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”
“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up some place else.”
“You better cut the pizza in four pieces, because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
“Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”
“There are some people who, if they don’t already know, you can’t tell ‘em.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps parents off the streets.”
“You can observe a lot by watching.”
“I always got nervous the nights we played in the World Series. First pitch, I was nervous. Then after that, forget it; I’d start playing.”
“You don’t have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it’ll go.”
“I tell the kids, somebody’s gotta win, somebody’s gotta lose. Just don’t fight about it. Just try to get better.”
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Photo credit: (A long-lived legend; a poster of Yogi in Yankee Stadium. Flickr – Mark)