On September 25th, 2015, the world lost one of the greatest, most beloved baseball players of all time. Lawrence Peter Berra, known more popularly by his nickname, “Yogi,” died in New Jersey. Berra purportedly passed away in his sleep, dying naturally at the age of 90. A funeral in his honor is scheduled for tomorrow at the time of this writing – the 29th of September. The Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network is set up to provide coverage of the tribute.
In life, Berra was a renowned baseball player, fulfilling the pivotal role of catcher on the field for over 19 years of Major-League Baseball in the early-mid 1900’s. Most of Berra’s professional career saw him playing for the New York Yankees, and a deep commitment to the sport brought him equally close to the team. In his prime years, Berra was a quick and limber catcher, partnering up well with nearly any pitcher on the team. Besides an exceptional performance statistics record, Berra has had over 10 World-Series and 18 All-star victories. Perhaps his most outstanding achievement as a baseball player is his stature as a 3-time recipient of the American League Most Valuable Player Award (also known as “the M.V.P”). This impressively rare feat is exclusive to a mere 4 other players in the history of M.L.B.!
Following the height of his playing career, Berra maintained his contributions to the craft by professionally managing both the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. Between both teams, Berra saw nearly 500 wins over 1964—1985, and retired from the managerial position with a win percentage of over 50%! From his combined roles as catcher, coach, and manager, Berra has attended 21 World Series championships with the Yankees and won more than half of them!
Berra’s professional record describes an extraordinarily skilled and committed sportsman, but it may seem surprising that, of all the facets of such a remarkable man, what people will remember most about him is his personality. Berra was well known for certain sayings and expressions – considered “words of wisdom” to many of the people who associated with him – that contained deep meanings despite their literal wording. Informally dubbed as “Yogi-isms”, some of the more renowned of these expressions include saying like “I really didn’t say everything I said,” or “You can observe a lot by watching.” These warm, insightful expressions reflected the true man behind the athlete – something that is easily lost in the competitive modern world.
The significance of “Yogi-isms” lies in its appeal and its meaning. Yogi Berra should absolutely be remembered as an incredible baseball player, but even more so, he should not be forgotten for the man that he was. Perhaps his sayings are his greatest legacy – the element of his person that made him a unique individual. Yogi Berra was truly a “one-of-a-kind character.”