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Yogi Berra

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Full Name: Lawrence Peter Berra Primary Position: C,OF
Height/Weight: 5' 7.5"/185 First Game: September 22, 1946
Birthdate: May 12, 1925 Final Game: May 9, 1965
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri MLB Experience: 19 years
Bat/Throw: Left/Right
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Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972


Biography

Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra (born May 12, 1925) is a former catcher and manager in Major League Baseball who played almost his entire career for the New York Yankees and was elected (with Sandy Koufax) to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. He is one of only four players to be named the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times, and one of only six managers to lead both American and National League teams to the World Series. He has lived in Montclair, New Jersey since his playing days.

Born in a primarily Italian neighborhood of St. Louis called "The Hill", Berra was the son of immigrants and originally nicknamed Lawdie, derived from his mother Paulina's difficulty pronouncing Lawrence or Larry correctly. He picked up his more famous nickname from a friend who said he resembled a Hindu holy man (yogi) they had seen in a movie, whenever sitting aground with arms and legs crossed waiting to bat or sad after a losing game. (Years later, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Yogi Bear was named after Berra.) He began playing baseball in local American Legion leagues, where he learned the basics of play as a catcher.

The St. Louis Cardinals spurned Berra in favour of his boyhood best friend, Joe Garagiola, in 1942. On the surface, the Cardinals seemed to think Garagiola the superior prospect---but team president Branch Rickey actually had an ulterior motive: knowing he was soon to leave St. Louis to take over the operation of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and more impressed with Berra than he let on, Rickey apparently planned to hold Berra off until he could sign him for the Dodgers. But the plan was ruined when the Yankees got to him first, signing him for the same $500 bonus the Cardinals offered Garagiola.

Berra is generally considered to be perhaps the greatest all-around catcher in baseball history, with Johnny Bench an extremely close second. In two recent (2004) approaches by sabermetricians Berra is ranked first by the Bill James Win Shares method and third by the Total Baseball Total Player Rating method. Another analyst, Allen Barra, has written an analytical book, Brushbacks and Knockdowns, that rates Berra as perhaps the single greatest team player in the history of team sports, analysing Berra that way through a combination of his run productivity, his overall hitting, his defensive ability, and perhaps his least-appreciated ability: nearly all the pitchers he caught did better with Berra behind the plate than they did with any other pitcher, and Barra determined that Berra produced more such improvements across a pitching staff than any other catcher who has ever played the game.

Yogi has been inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Berra, who quit school at age fifteen, is also quite famous for his tendency toward malapropism and fracturing the English language in highly provocative, interesting ways, even though---by his own malapropping admission---"I never said half the things I really said"; see Yogiisms.

Yogi was named Wisest Fool of the Past 50 Years by the Economist magazine in January 2005.

Playing career

Following a spell in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he played minor league baseball with the Newark Bears before being called up for 7 games in the major leagues in 1946. The following season he played 86 games for the Yankees, and he would play more than 100 in each of the following 14 years. During his 19-year career as a Yankee, the Bronx Bombers dominated baseball, appearing in 14 World Series and winning ten championships, both of which are records. Berra himself was a 15-time All-Star, and won the league's MVP award in 1951, 1954 and 1955. He caught Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, the only no-hitter ever thrown in postseason play.

In 1946, he wore uniform number 38 on the Yankees, switching to 35 the next year. In 1948, he changed to number 8, which became well-known as his number for the rest of his career on the Yankees and Mets. The number 8 was retired in 1972 by the Yankees, jointly honoring Berra and Bill Dickey, his predecessor as the Yankees' star catcher. On August 22, 1988, he and Dickey were honored with plaques to be hung in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. Berra's plaque calls him "A legendary Yankee" and cites his most frequent quote, "It ain't over till it's over."

In 1972, while he was manager of the Mets, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1999, he placed number 40 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and a fan balloting elected him to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Coaching and Managing career

  • 1963 - New York Yankees player-coach
  • 1964 - New York Yankees manager (won American League pennant)
  • 1965-1972 - New York Mets coach
  • 1972-1975 - New York Mets manager (won National League pennant in 1973)
  • 1976-1983 - New York Yankees coach
  • 1984-1985 - New York Yankees manager
  • 1986-1992 - Houston Astros coach

Non-Baseball Activities

In February 2005 Berra filed a lawsuit against Turner Broadcasting System. He alleges that they used his name in a racy advertisement for Sex and the City. The advertisement asks what the definition of a "yogasm" is: a) a type of yo-yo trick, (b) sex with Yogi Berra and c) what Samantha has with a guy from yoga class. The answer given was c). He is requesting $10,000,000 in damages.

Berra has previously appeared on advertisements for AFLAC, Entenmann's, and Stovetop stuffing, demonstrating his famous "yogiisms."

Statistics

Batting Stats

Year Team G AB R H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG 2B 3B BB SO HBP SH SB IBB GDP
1946 NY A 7 22 3 8 2 4 .364 .391 .682 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
1947 NY A 83 293 41 82 11 54 .280 .310 .464 15 3 13 12 0 0 0 0 7
1948 NY A 125 469 70 143 14 98 .305 .341 .488 24 10 25 24 1 2 3 0 9
1949 NY A 116 415 59 115 20 91 .277 .323 .480 20 2 22 25 6 0 2 0 6
1950 NY A 151 597 116 192 28 124 .322 .383 .533 30 6 55 12 4 0 4 0 11
1951 NY A 141 547 92 161 27 88 .294 .350 .492 19 4 44 20 3 0 5 0 16
1952 NY A 142 534 97 146 30 98 .273 .358 .478 17 1 66 24 4 1 2 0 8
1953 NY A 137 503 80 149 27 108 .296 .363 .523 23 5 50 32 3 1 0 0 7
1954 NY A 151 584 88 179 22 125 .307 .367 .488 28 6 56 29 4 1 0 0 9
1955 NY A 147 541 84 147 27 108 .272 .349 .470 20 3 60 20 7 2 1 6 13
1956 NY A 140 521 93 155 30 105 .298 .378 .534 29 2 65 29 5 1 3 7 8
1957 NY A 134 482 74 121 24 82 .251 .329 .438 14 2 57 24 1 1 1 10 11
1958 NY A 122 433 60 115 22 90 .266 .319 .471 17 3 35 35 2 0 3 5 6
1959 NY A 131 472 64 134 19 69 .284 .347 .462 25 1 43 38 4 0 1 5 6
1960 NY A 120 359 46 99 15 62 .276 .347 .446 14 1 38 23 3 0 2 6 11
1961 NY A 119 395 62 107 22 61 .271 .330 .466 11 0 35 28 2 0 2 4 7
1962 NY A 86 232 25 52 10 35 .224 .297 .388 8 0 24 18 2 0 0 4 7
1963 NY A 64 147 20 43 8 28 .293 .360 .497 6 0 15 17 1 0 1 2 4
1965 NY N 4 9 1 2 0 0 .222 .222 .222 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
Total NL 4 9 1 2 0 0 .222 .222 .222 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
Total AL 2116 7546 1174 2148 358 1430 .285 .348 .483 321 49 704 411 52 9 30 49 146
Total 2120 7555 1175 2150 358 1430 .285 .348 .482 321 49 704 414 52 9 30 49 146

Fielding Stats

Year Team POS G GS INN PO A ERR DP TP PB SB CS PkO AVG
1946 NY A C 6 0 0 28 6 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1947 NY A OF 24 0 0 48 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .980
1947 NY A C 51 0 0 259 18 8 5 0 3 0 0 0 .972
1948 NY A C 71 0 0 297 36 7 5 0 8 0 0 0 .979
1948 NY A OF 50 0 0 93 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 .980
1949 NY A C 109 0 0 544 60 7 18 0 4 0 0 0 .989
1950 NY A C 148 0 0 777 64 13 16 0 7 0 0 0 .985
1951 NY A C 141 0 0 693 82 13 25 0 3 0 0 0 .984
1952 NY A C 140 0 0 700 73 6 10 0 5 0 0 0 .992
1953 NY A C 133 0 0 566 64 9 9 0 8 0 0 0 .986
1954 NY A 3B 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1954 NY A C 149 0 0 717 63 8 14 0 5 0 0 0 .990
1955 NY A C 145 0 0 748 54 13 10 0 3 0 0 0 .984
1956 NY A OF 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1956 NY A C 135 0 0 732 55 11 15 0 7 0 0 0 .986
1957 NY A LF 6 6 51 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1957 NY A C 121 116 1030.2 704 61 4 12 0 9 29 37 1 .995
1957 NY A RF 1 1 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1957 NY A OF 7 7 62 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1958 NY A 1B 2 1 9 10 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1958 NY A RF 21 21 168 31 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .944
1958 NY A OF 21 21 168 39 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .955
1958 NY A C 88 87 755 509 41 0 8 0 5 23 28 0 1.000
1959 NY A OF 7 7 46 8 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .818
1959 NY A C 116 112 1000.2 698 61 2 9 0 3 32 26 1 .997
1959 NY A RF 7 7 46 7 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .800
1960 NY A LF 20 17 160 30 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .939
1960 NY A C 61 53 454.1 256 22 3 6 0 1 15 12 1 .989
1960 NY A RF 17 16 149 25 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1960 NY A OF 36 33 309 56 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .967
1961 NY A LF 81 78 659.2 147 6 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 .987
1961 NY A C 15 15 121 76 8 0 0 0 3 6 6 0 1.000
1961 NY A OF 87 83 717.2 161 7 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 .988
1961 NY A RF 8 5 58 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1962 NY A C 31 28 271 175 16 2 6 0 1 7 5 1 .990
1962 NY A LF 28 27 225.1 63 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 .941
1962 NY A OF 28 27 225.1 63 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 .941
1963 NY A C 35 32 292 244 13 3 5 0 1 14 3 0 .988
1965 NY N C 2 2 18 15 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 .941
Total 3B 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
Total OF 261 178 1528 472 20 15 6 0 0 0 0 0 .970
Total C 1697 445 3942.2 8738 798 110 175 0 76 128 117 4 .989
Total RF 54 50 432 73 6 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 .952
Total 1B 2 1 9 10 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
Total LF 135 128 1096 243 8 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 .969

Transactions

  • Signed as an amateur free agent by New York Yankees (1943).
  • Released by New York Yankees (October 29, 1963).
  • Signed by New York Mets (April 27, 1965).
  • Released by New York Mets (May 17, 1965).

Trivia

Books

Four books by Yogi Berra (with co-authors):

  • ISBN 0761110909; (April 1998) The Yogi Book: 'I Really Didn't Say Everything I Said'
  • ISBN 0786867752; (May 2001) When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It! Inspiration and Wisdom from One of Baseball's Greatest Heroes
  • ISBN 0743237684; (October 1, 2002) What Time Is It? You Mean Now?: Advice for Life from the Zennest Master of Them All
  • ISBN 0070969477; (April, 1989) Yogi: It Ain't Over

External links


See also

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