Yogi Berra, 10-Time World Series Champ, 3-Time MVP, Beloved Class Act, Dies at 90

Bruce Weber, the NYT:

Beyond the historic moments and individual accomplishments, what most distinguished Berra’s career was how often he won. From 1946 to 1985, as a player, coach and manager, Berra appeared in a remarkable 21 World Series. Playing on powerful Yankee teams with teammates like Rizzuto and Joe DiMaggio early on and then Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle, Berra starred on World Series winners in 1947, ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, ’56 and ’58. He was a backup catcher and part-time outfielder on the championship teams of 1961 and ’62. (He also played on World Series losers in 1955, ’57, ’60 and ’63.)

All told, his Yankee teams won the American League pennant 14 out of 17 years. He still holds Series records for games played, plate appearances, hits and doubles.

No other player has been a champion so often.

It’s almost unfathomable how successful the Yankees were with Yogi. He spanned the era from DiMaggio to Mantle, and caught Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series. A perfect game in the World Series. But beyond his on-field success, if you don’t follow the Yankees closely, you just can’t understand how beloved the man was. When he showed up in recent years for special events at Yankee Stadium, the place just erupted. No one got a response from the crowd like Yogi did.

Among his Yogi-isms:

“You can observe a lot just by watching,” he is reputed to have declared once, describing his strategy as a manager.

“If you can’t imitate him,” he advised a young player who was mimicking the batting stance of the great slugger Frank Robinson, “don’t copy him.”

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” he said, giving directions to his house. Either path, it turned out, got you there.

“Nobody goes there anymore,” he said of a popular restaurant. “It’s too crowded.”

Wednesday, 23 September 2015