Tag: Yogi Berra

10 Biggest Takeaways from MLB’s Week 25

The fodder does not stop just because the number of relevant teams in this regular season has shrunk to about a dozen.

There was plenty of news in Major League Baseball this past week, and some of it was made by non-contending organizations such as the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, both of whom hired new general managers—Mike Hazen and David Stearns, respectively.

We won’t discuss those things in this week’s takeaways, but we should note that the moves are significant because Hazen and Stearns will guide their franchises for the next several years, and they could alter the landscapes of the American and National Leagues this coming offseason.

There was also the typical weekly news, like a meaningful injury, a declining player getting the nod over a hot up-and-coming one, another player trying to police an opponent and, of course, more questions and concerns about the New York Yankees’ rotation. 

Unfortunately, there was also the death of a baseball icon: Yogi Berra.

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Cal Ripken Jr., Ron Darling Share Favorite Memories from MLB Legend Yogi Berra

Late Tuesday night, Hall of Fame catcher and MLB manager Yogi Berra died in West Caldwell, New Jersey, at the age of 90.

Known for his quick wit and famous expressions, Berra won three MVPs as a player and 10 World Series.

MLB on TBS Analysts Cal Ripken Jr. and Ron Darling sat down with Stephen Nelson to share some of their favorite memories and “Yogi-isms,” which can be seen in the video above.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Yogi Berra, MLB Icon and War Hero, Was One of Sports’ Most Unforgettable

“It ain’t over till it’s over,” he once told us, and now that it really is sadly, touchingly and poignantly over for the great man, say this: He leaves us smiling.

Yogi Berra is the only Hall of Famer who was part fact, part fiction and all American.

He heroically fought on D-Day as a member of the U.S. Navy, manning a machine gun and providing cover fire at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. He also was believed to be the inspiration for the long-running, beloved cartoon character Yogi Bear.

“Believed” is a key word in the grand, sprawling life of Lawrence Peter Berra.

“I really didn’t say everything I said,” he once (supposedly) said.

He is one of the most widely quoted Americans who ever lived, and he was one of the most widely imitated baseball players who ever played.

As one of the most beloved Yankees ever, for a time during his prime it was impossible to imagine an October without him in it. You think the Yankees of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera dominated the month in recent years? Berra earned a record 10 World Series rings during another Yankee dynasty between 1947 and 1962.

He played in more World Series games (75) than anybody in history, cracked more World Series hits than anybody (71) and was behind the plate when Don Larsen threw his perfect game in the 1956 World Series. He won the American League Most Valuable Player award three times (1951, 1954, 1955), finished second two other times (1953 and 1956) and third once (1950).

Widely considered the second-greatest catcher of all time, behind the legendary Johnny Bench, Berra was a fantastic bad-ball hitter and a gifted bad-phrase speaker.

One of former major leaguer Tim Flannery’s favorite stories (which he surely heard from the late Yankees infielder Jerry Coleman) was the time when Yogi went 4-for-4 in a game but called the official scorer the next day, explaining that the newspaper said he went 3-for-4. Relax, the official scorer told him, that was a typographical error.

“Bulls–t,” Berra said. “It was a clean single up the middle.”

You’ve heard about it being “deja vu all over again” and how “a nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

Yes, Yogi was a man for all seasons and for all generations. As legacies go, overflowing love is pretty darned great. Yankees legend Don Mattingly wears No. 8 today while managing the Dodgers in tribute to him. One of the best managers of our time, Jim Leyland, became a catcher in his earlier days because he grew up idolizing Berra.

“Renowned as a great teammate, Yogi stood for values like inclusion and respect during the vital era when our game began to become complete and open to all,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “With his trademark humility and good humor, Yogi represented only goodwill to baseball fans. His proud American story will endure at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, New Jersey.”

Born in St. Louis to immigrant parents, Berra’s story soon became richly American. As Manfred noted, “Yogi Berra was a beacon of Americana.”

Berra once was a pitch man for Yoo-hoo chocolate soda, of all things. He was the man who supposedly once ordered his pizza cut into six slices instead of eight “because I’m not that hungry.” He also was the man who once advised that “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

The first time I ever met him still seems totally out of context: It was in the late 1980s, and he was coaching for the Houston Astros. What a sight he was in that uniform. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner had fired him as manager in 1985, causing a famous rift that wasn’t healed until 1999, when Yogi finally forgave, if not forgot, and ventured back into the Yankees family.

Thank goodness he did, because how else can you picture him? He did manage the Mets from 1972 to 1975 (“We were overwhelming underdogs”), but though he was born in St. Louis (and grew up great friends with another future big leaguer, Joe Garagiola) and did make a few other stops in different incarnations of his life, this was a man who had pinstripes stamped on his soul.

Though he was overshadowed at times by teammates Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle (and even, at times, Whitey Ford), that says more about the greatness of the Yankees than it did about Berra. On the all-time frieze of Yankees greats, there is Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio and Berra. Then comes Jeter, and Rivera, and whomever else you want to nominate.

Just 5’7″ and squat of stature, Berra’s hands were enormous—perfect for a baseball life spent behind the plate. He also was quicker than he appeared, in many ways.

“While his baseball wit and wisdom brought out the best in generations of Yankees, his imprint in society stretches far beyond the walls of Yankee Stadium,” Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing co-partner and son of George, said in a statement. “He simply had a way of reaching and relating to people that was unmatched. That’s what made him such a national treasure.”

It is impossible to do the math on how many lives he touched during his 90 years. Those who knew him well loved him. Those who didn’t know him well knew of him. It is not a stretch to call him one of the more important Americans of our time.

“We’ve lost Yogi, but we will always have what he left for us: the memories of a lifetime filled with greatness, humility, integrity and a whole bunch of smiles,” Hall of Famer Joe Torre said in a statement. “He was a lovable friend.”

A friend who left us marveling in life and who, with his passing, will continue to leave us marveling…and chuckling.

So maybe sometime soon, in tribute to Yogi, take a moment to soak in those pinstripes and appreciate those graceful men and women among us who rise above partisan divide during a Yankees game in these final days of the season. Or, better yet, do it in Yogi’s month, October.

Or, maybe toast him at your favorite restaurant that nobody goes to anymore because it’s too crowded.

If you didn’t like Yogi, you didn’t like ice cream.

I do know one thing: His funeral will be jammed with loved ones and admirers eager to send him off in style. Because, well, that’s how he always wanted it, isn’t it?

“Always go to other people’s funerals,” Berra once advised. “Otherwise, they won’t go to yours.”

Of course. Or, as he once told CNN, “If I had to do it all over again, I would do it all over again.”


Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Twitter Honors Yankees Legend Yogi Berra

When New York Yankees legendary catcher Yogi Berra died Tuesday at his home in New Jersey of natural causes at the age of 90, the baseball world lost one of its most recognizable and popular figures ever.

That much was clear on Twitter, as well-known names across sports and entertainment paid their respects to the Hall of Famer.

The Yankees organization, with which Berra won a record 10 World Series championships as a player, offered a classy tip of the hat:

Perhaps outside of his family, those involved with the Yankees knew Berra best, and Jack Curry of YES Network is glad he had the opportunity to interact with him:

Berra was clearly beloved and respected by Yankees players of all generations, which Joel Sherman of the New York Post saw firsthand when he would make visits to training camp:

The Players Tribune shared a portion of Derek Jeter’s tribute to Berra:

Gordon Edes, who covers the rival Boston Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com, paid tribute to the former Yankees great:

Those who have played for the Yankees over the years have gotten to interact with Berra more so than anyone else in the baseball world, but his influence reached far beyond the 27-time world champions.

Former Atlanta Braves and future Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones recognized Berra’s indelible impact on the sport:

The same goes for Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick:

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Shane Victorino was on the other side of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry for a few years, but he holds Berra in the highest regard as well:

Most who have commented appreciated what he did off the field as much as on it, but ESPN’s Buster Olney still managed to put Berra’s remarkable baseball career in perspective by comparing him to San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey:

Many of Berra’s accomplishments in baseball are unmatched, but he transcended the sport due to his status as a World War II hero as well as the fact that he is among the most quotable figures in American history.

Berra had no shortage of colorful sayings, such as this one from the New York Post:

Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweeted out two of his favorite Yogi-isms as well:

As the Associated Press pointed out, Berra never let facts get in the way of a good quote:

Although his lines didn’t always make sense, technically speaking, they made you think and were routinely good for a laugh, such as this one from Bill Hemmer of Fox News:

Berra was an entertainer in many ways, so it should come as no surprise that he left a lasting impression on actor Samuel L. Jackson:

That can also be said for comedian and New Jersey native Artie Lange:

Sen. Chuck Schumer took an opportunity to acknowledge what Berra meant to New York City and the state of New York as a whole:

There are few athletes who break down generational barriers and remain at the forefront long after their playing careers are over, but Berra did.

Nobody received a more raucous ovation during Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium over the years from fans of all ages.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Yogi Berra, New York Yankees Legend and MLB Hall of Famer, Dies at Age 90

Legendary New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra died of natural causes at the age of 90 Tuesday night at his home in New Jersey.

News of Berra’s death came via the Yogi Berra Museum, and the Yankees’ official Twitter feed paid tribute to their iconic player:

Berra’s family released a statement via the museum: “While we mourn the loss of our father, grandfather and great-grandfather, we know he is at peace with Mom. We celebrate his remarkable life and are thankful he meant so much to so many. He will truly be missed.”

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred also released a statement on Berra’s passing:

Berra, who was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1972, will be remembered as one of the Yankees’ greatest players. As a player, he played a major part as the club won 10 World Series—five in consecutive years—and was named an All-Star 15 times during his remarkable career. He added three more rings as a coach with the Mets (1969) and Yankees (1977, 1978).

In addition, Berra was named the American League‘s MVP three times: 1951, 1954 and 1955. The Yankees retired his No. 8 jersey in 1972 after he finished his 19-year career with a .285 batting average, 358 home runs and 1,430 RBI.

MLB’s official Twitter feed paid its respects to a true great of the game:

Yankees legend Derek Jeter issued a statement on The Players’ Tribune paying tribute to Berra:

To those who didn’t know Yogi personally, he was one of the greatest baseball players and Yankees of all time. To those lucky ones who did, he was an even better person. To me he was a dear friend and mentor. He will always be remembered for his success on the field, but I believe his finest quality was how he treated everyone with sincerity and kindness. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Away from the field, Berra shined, coining such gems as “It ain’t over ’til it’s over” and “It’s like deja vu all over again,” among many more.

Oakland Athletics right fielder Josh Reddick paid tribute to the man and his pearls of wisdom, which became known as “Yogi-isms”:

Berra also fought for his country in World War II with the Navy, landing on D-Day at the Battle of Normandy as a 19-year-old in the Yankees’ minor league system. The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Chris Hatcher made reference to Berra’s military service in his tribute:

Berra’s influence went beyond the playing field. Samuel L. Jackson, for instance, recounted some fond time spent with the Yankees man:

Fellow Hall of Famer and former Yankees right fielder Dave Winfield also took to social media to express his sadness:

Berra will be remembered as not only a baseball giant but a sporting one. His career achievements on the field speak for themselves, but the manner in which people gravitated to him away from the game is the measure of a man who will be revered as a baseball immortal and an American icon.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Happy Birthday Yogi Berra!

Yankees great and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra turned 87 today.

I thought that it might be nice to take a look back at the career of one of the greatest (and funniest) men to ever wear pinstripes.

Yogi Berra did not make his debut for the New York Yankees until 1946 as a 21-year-old. He only played in seven games that season, but he hit his first two home runs during those games and showed enough promise to earn substantial playing time the following year.

It turned out that that was an excellent decision for the New York Yankees. That very next season, he came in 15th in the MVP voting.

The reason that that is significant is because Yogi Berra received MVP votes every year between 1947 and 1961. That would be phenomenal for any player, but given the physical demands placed upon the catcher, it’s even more remarkable.

He didn’t just receive MVP votes, but he won three of them in 1951, 1954 and 1955. Also, he hit at least 20 home runs every year from 1949 to 1958.

Obviously, he had long stretches of great success, and his career numbers reflect that. He boasts a .285 career batting average with 358 home runs, 1,430 RBI and walked a remarkable 707 times compared to 414 strikeouts.

All of these numbers help demonstrate how talented Berra actually was and show why he was the best catcher to ever play in a Yankees uniform.

No discussion of Yogi Berra would be complete without a discussion of Yogi-isms. I personally find him hilarious (I love the irony), and I know that thousands, if not millions, of other people do as well. Therefore, here are some of my favorites.

It’s déjà vu all over again.

I didn’t really say everything I said.

It gets late early out here.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

(All of these and more can be found at this Yogi Berra website)

So, I have no idea if you will ever read this, but happy birthday Mr. Berra! You had a great career as one of the best offensive catchers in history and one of the funniest men in America.

Whether you think I know everything or nothing about Major League Baseball, you should follow me on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook and keep in touch. I love hearing what you all have to say!


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

A Baseball Trivia Question and an Homage to the Larry King Radio Show

Once upon a time, before CNN was born, Larry King hosted an all-night radio talk show. The show originated in Washington, D.C., and was syndicated across the USA. As far as over-night radio on the AM dial, Larry was the king of the airwaves.

The Larry King back then was not the kind and gentle, heart-healthy Larry King who we see on television today. The radio version of Larry was a curmudgeonly, sarcastic man who ate lots of pastrami and corned beef at Duke’s Deli (a D.C. legend) daily, while seemingly divorcing wives annually. 

Larry did not hesitate to blow off a caller who tried to get cute on the air. For that matter, he would diss callers whose agenda was too slow-paced for his liking. King was also known to take an occasional catnap on the air. This was not the show for lonely people with who loved kittens.

One early morn, I was searching for the light switch while my alarm radio was broadcasting the Larry King show. A caller announced that he had the greatest baseball trivia question of all time. Larry grunted and told the called to let it rip.

One area that Larry did not trifle was his appreciation of America’s pastime. Larry is a true-blue Dodger fan. 

I heard the question and not trusting my foggy head, I scrambled to find a pencil so I could record this when the rest of the world was up and about.

NOTE: This question to follow was posed in 1991. Three players have accomplished this feat since this question was broadcast. For the sake of this story, I will acknowledge the three newest members of this story on the next slide.  The trivia question is …

Nine baseball players have won consecutive MVP awards in Major League Baseball. Consequently, each of these ballplayers played a different defensive position. Name these players.

(Your hint is that each consecutive MVP’er played one of the nine infield/outfield positions in their award winning seasons.)


1)  Pitcher:  ____________________

2)  Catcher:  _____________________

3)  1st base:  _____________________

4)  2nd base:  ____________________

5)  3rd base:  ____________________

6)  Shortstop:  ______________________

7)  OF:  ____________________

8)  OF:  ____________________

9)  OF:  ____________________

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Yogi Berra Wasn’t Surprised the New York Mets Fired Him in 1975

As a player, Yogi Berra has been on 14 pennant winners and 10 world champions. He managed the New York Yankees to the 1964 pennant, was a coach on the world champion 1969 New York Mets and led the 1973 Mets to an improbable pennant.

Berra is one of seven managers to win pennants in both leagues (Joe McCarthy, Alvin Dark, Dick Williams, Sparky Anderson, Tony LaRussa and Jim Leyland are the others).

On Aug. 5, 1975,  the Mets relieved Berra of his managerial duties. It was the second time that a New York team had fired him.

Berra took over as Mets manager in April 1973 following the untimely death of Gil Hodges. The Mets did poorly in 1974 after taking the Oakland A’s to seven games in the 1973 World Series.

Some “experts” criticized Berra for starting Tom Seaver in the sixth game of that series and Jon Matlack in the seventh game. Each pitcher had three days’ rest, but this was 1973, when it was the norm for starters to work on three days’ rest.

The “experts” thought that George Stone should have started the sixth game in an effort to close out the series. When Stone lost, Seaver would start the seventh game on full rest.

It was the Mets that instituted the five-man rotation because Seaver, Matlack, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman and Gary Gentry threw so hard. Pitching coach Rube Walker and Hodges didn’t want their young pitchers to burn themselves out.

Berra wasn’t surprised that he had been fired.

“I could sort of see the handwriting on the wall. Mr. Grant was saying there was a lack of communication on the team. But lack of communication? I’ve managed four years and won two pennants,” Berra said.

M. Donald Grant, the Mets chairman of the board, attempted to explain.

“The performance of our team this year was the criterion. I personally thought at the start of the year we were a very strong team. It’s up to the players now to produce.”

When Roy McMillan replaced Berra, the Mets were 56-53. They finished third at 82-80.

Firing Berra really made the team play better.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Queens to Kings: The Four Best Players to Play for Both the Yankees and Mets

New York’s baseball history is rich with history dating back well over a century with multiple teams always battling for the Big Apple’s spotlight.  For the last 50 years, the same two teams have drawn the border through the city.  Both the Mets and Yankees have produced Hall-of-Famers and championships, but also players who have donned each uniform.   Here are five of the best to play in Queens and the Bronx.

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MLB: The 6 Best Catchers in New York Yankees History

The New York Yankees have had more catching greats than any other team. From Bill Dickey to Jorge Posada, the catching position has provided excellent offense and in most instances, great defenses.

Selecting the five greatest Yankees catchers is easy, but who is No. 6? That selection can be controversial.

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