I have nothing new to say about Laurence Peter Berra. I never met him, have no relationship with The NY Yankees other than being a fan, and never even saw him play, although my grandfather took me to a Mets game when Berra was managing in the early 1970s, so I have some connection!
But Yogi saw the joy in baseball like few others have. And he was able to communicate that simply and well, just by talking about the silly minutia that baseball so loves. He was also a great player…smart and tough and a fierce competitor, but also respectful of the game.
I remember an interview with Berra during the 2011 brouhaha about home plate collisions and Buster Posey’s season ending injury. Somebody asked Yogi if it had been a problem when he played, and his answer has stuck with me. It was something like, “Just tag them in the neck…they won’t run you over!”
Simple answer for a simple but beautiful game…one that Yogi Berra played better than all but a few, and loved perhaps more than anyone.
There were a few ballplayers who were better, though not many. A lot of people have forgotten that Yogi was a three-time MVP. But none were more loved. RIP.
It frustrates me that the amiable clown image has obscured the fact that he could play!
The two most memorable images of Yogi are jumping into Don Larsen’s arms after the perfect World Series game and ripping his mask off and getting in the ump’s face after Jackie Robinson stole home plate.
And of course, a fixture as the Miracle Mets’ first base coach and then manager.
Another part of my youth as left me forever. RIP, Yogi.