Yogi had a way of saying things

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Yogi had a way of saying things

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 14:01
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A long time ago I wrote about the late Yogi Berra, specifically about the sayings that have been attributed to him. Yogi had a way of saying things that seemed funny at first, but when you considered them at length, there was a grain of solid philosophy imbedded within. The most famous example was “It ain’t over until its over.”

Just in case you don’t know who Yogi Berra was, he had a Hall-of-Fame career as a catcher-outfielder for the New York Yankees and later served as manager of the Yankees and New York Mets. He is acknowledged to have been one of the most beloved figures to ever participate in professional sports. He certainly was one of my all-time favorite personalities.

Yogi’s childhood friend and St. Louis neighbor, Joe Garagiola was the one who introduced Yogi the Philosopher to the world. From his bully pulpit on national television, Garagiola almost always had a Yogi story to add to any conversation. Some were true and some were suspiciously apocryphal. Mr. Berra was no dummy. He knew how to embellish his reputation with new sayings that fit the mold. He made a mint on commercials that featured a “Yogism” or two. Yogi even wrote a book “I Didn’t Say All the Things I Said.”

I don’t have the original piece that I wrote at my disposal, but I would like to revisit the subject. The following are quotes that have been attributed to Mr. Berra through the years

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

“Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.”

“He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”

“How can a you hit and think at the same time?”

“Bill Dickey is learning me his experience.”

“I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.”

“I don’t know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.”

“If people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?”

“I’m a lucky guy and I’m happy to be with the Yankees. And I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.”

“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”

“In baseball, you don’t know nothing.”

“I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?” “It ain’t the heat, it’s the

“It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.”

“It gets late early out there.”

“I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house.”

“It’s like deja vu all over again.”

“Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.”

“Ninety percent of this game is half mental.”

“Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.”

“So I’m ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.”

“Take it with a grin of salt.”

“The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.”

“You can observe a lot just by watching.”

“You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.”

“We made too many wrong mistakes.”

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

When asked by his wife Carmen where he wanted to be buried, New York (where he played and managed in baseball), New Jersey (where he and Carmen had a home) or St. Louis (his boyhood home), he responded “Surprise me.

When told that he should turn his bat around so that he could read the trademark while batting so as to not break the bat, he responded, “I came up here to bat, not read.”

Others had things to say about Yogi Berra. Baseball Almanac provides the following list:

Casey Stengel -- “He’d fall in a sewer and come up with a gold watch.”

Mel Ott -- “He seemed to be doing everything wrong, yet everything came out right. He stopped everything behind the plate and hit everything in front of it.”

Casey Stengel -- They say he’s funny. Well, he has a lovely wife and family, a beautiful home, money in the bank and he plays golf with millionaires. What’s funny about that?”

Bill Dickey -- Right now, Berra does about everything wrong. But Casey warned me about that. The main thing is he has speed and agility behind the plate and a strong enough arm. He just needs to be taught to throw properly. I know he can hit. I’d say Berra has the makings of a good catcher. I won’t say great, but certainly a good one.”

Casey Stengel-- “Why has our pitching been so great? Our catcher, that’s why. He looks cumbersome but he’s as quick as a cat.”

Hector Lopez -- “Yogi has the fastest bat I ever saw. He could hit a ball late, that was already past him and take it out of the park. Pitchers were afraid of him because he would hit anything so they didn’t know what to throw. Yogi had them psyched out and he wasn’t even trying to psych them out.”

Dale Berra (Yogi’s son)-- “You can’t compare me to my father. Our similarities are different.”

Yogi died in 2015, but his legacy lives on. For the record, his ashes are interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover, N. J., near to his Montclair, N. J. home. It was no surprise to him. His wife, Carmen died in 2014 and her ashes were interred first.