The year was 1925, in a world where motorized vehicles weren’t common. A world in which if you had a land line telephone you were considered one of the lucky ones. High speed was what a horse did when it was spooked. And the word super market had not been destroyed by over saturation.
The world would forever change in the next 90 years. As one of the greatest baseball legends of all-time would be born. And while he didn’t invent the game of baseball, the telephone, the car or anything else. He did one thing that no other single major league baseball player would do.
The birth of Lawrence Peter Berra wasn’t anything special. It was just another birth to Italian immigrants but in time it would be one of those great events. His parents were from the old country, his father didn’t know what baseball was. But his son, his son would soon be the basis of what a legend is in the sport of baseball.
After dropping out of school in eight grade he would begin playing baseball for American Legion teams. Through a childhood friend of Joe Garagiola he found the St. Louis Cardinals entertaining signing a contract with him. But Branch Rickey who at that time was a member of the Cardinals was rumored to have more interest in taking him with him as he ventured to move on to the Los Angeles Dodgers. But the New York Yankees would slip in and sign up the son of Immigrants.
Rickey, for those who aren’t familiar with baseball is the executive most famously known for signing Jackie Robinson. He also brought Roberto Clemente in. As for Garagiola, he was signed by the Cardinals at the age of 16. And was a sure thing, but sadly his MLB career didn’t reflect this. He would move on to become a huge part in the television world appearing on The Today Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Before his baseball career was to begin Berra would serve in the U.S. Navy. Do to this small conflict in Europe called World War II. He served as a gunner’s mate on the USS Bayfield during the D-Day invasion of France.
Sixty-Nine years ago yesterday Berra would be called up to the majors. He would only play 7 games that year and the next would include 83 games. Surely not setting the world on fire but he would move on to be one of the greatest catchers of all-time.
Over the course of the next two decades the man known as Yogi would go on to win 3 American League MVP awards, an 18 time all-star, 15 of which would be in consecutive years.
Oh yeah, and he was a member of the New York Yankees that would go on to win the World Series ten times! Yogi would also go on to manage the Yankees to win a World Series as well as managing the New York Mets to a World Series ring.
His career batting average was a stunning .285, with 358 home runs and a 1,430 career RBIs. As a catcher he had a career 8,723 career putouts, a number that he set.
While years go by and many may forget the baseball statistics that Berra brought to us. One thing that won’t be forgotten is his unique quotes. Some that you today may say without even knowing where they came from. The Daily News has gathered some of Yogi’s best and most famous quotes for your viewing pleasure. Check out all of these “Yogisms.”
Rest In Peace Yogi Berra.