You can’t say that New York Yankees legendary catcher Yogi Berra didn’t live a long, uneventful or amazing life. All of those adjectives are true. Yet, what is truly hard to believe is that the legend is truly gone.
The Yogi Berra Museum made the announcement at approximately 11:00 pm PT Tuesday night that the three-time American League MVP had in fact passed away. Both the Yankees and Major League Baseball confirmed the report.
— Yogi Berra Museum (@Yogi_Museum) September 23, 2015
A short statement was released by Berra’s family via the museum that said that while they were mourning their
“father, grandfather and great-grandfather, we know that he is at peace with Mom. We celebrate his remarkable life, and are thankful that he meant so much to so many. He will be truly missed.”
Berra, who was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, is almost best known for his quirky sayings deemed, “Yogi-isms.” Universally known, a few include –
- “It aint over till it’s over”
- “Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical”
- “When you come to a fork in the road – take it”
But moving on, Berra was a 15-time All-Star over his 19-year career. Berra was actually elected to 18 All-Star games as two were held each year between 1959-1962. He amassed 2, 150 hits and hit a career .285 (as a catcher!). He led a Yankee team that included Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle in RBI for seven straight seasons between 1949 and 1955.
As a player Berra appeared in a record 14 World Series, winning another record 10 World Series Championships. He managed the Yankees to the World Series in 1964 but lost. He later managed the New York Mets from 1972-1975, leading them to a National League Pennant but not a World Series Championship as they eventually lost to the Oakland Athletics in a well-fought seven game series in 1973.
Berra rejoined the Yankees as a coach in 1976 and was named manager in 1984 but was fired by owner George Steinbrenner after just 16 games. Steinbrenner did not even tell Berra himself – leading to a rift between the two that lasted almost 15 years.
Berra spent some time as a coach with the Houston Astros, making it to the National League Championship Series in 1986 where the team lost to the Mets. He officially retired in 1989.
It wan’t until 1999 that Steinbrenner went to Berra to finally apologize in person for the way he had fired him so many years before, thus mending the long rift between Berra and the Yankees.
It’s been 16 years since then and Berra, always prolific in baseball, still always put a smile on the face of fans everywhere. The man, whose given name was Lawrence Peter Berra and who wore number 8 for the New York Yankees from 1946 until 1963, has really passed away – exactly 69 years to the day of his Major League debut. It seems somewhat fitting for such an iconic figure’s life to end that way.
— Yogi Berra Museum (@Yogi_Museum) September 22, 2015
As Bill Chuck of the Gammon’s Daily put it early Wednesday morning, “it’s over.” Many of felt as though Berra would somehow live forever and in many ways he will live on forever in our memories and our hearts.