September 23, 2015

Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra passes away: at the age of 90.

posted by rumple to baseball at 02:35 AM - 6 comments

I've lived under 7 Popes but only one Yogi.


I have to find out when the services are. If I don't go to his funeral, he won't go to mine.

posted by beaverboard at 07:50 AM on September 23, 2015

Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.

posted by tommybiden at 10:17 AM on September 23, 2015

This seriously bums me out. One of the few celebrities I've actually mourned.

I'm too young to have seen him play, but he was still my favorite Yankee. The only reason I got to see David Cone's perfect game in person was because it was the day that Yogi made his return to Yankee Stadium after he and Steinbrenner finally reconciled.

Tonight I will be pouring a bit of Yoohoo out for #8.

posted by goddam at 12:17 PM on September 23, 2015

Many, if not most, will remember Yogi for his quotes and his unique way with the English language. I will remember him for his remarkable skills both behind and at the plate. (Perhaps I can fill you in on his playing ability, goddam.) As a catcher he had a better than average arm, a very reliable glove, and the ability to manage his pitchers that was superior. In his era, pitches were not called from the dugout. It was up to the pitcher and catcher to run the game. Berra was always prepared for the hitters he would face.

One of the things I most remember was the interaction between him and the opposing hitter coming to bat. One would think that the two were old friends who had not seen each other in weeks or months; not the case in the days of the 8-team leagues without inter-league play. Berra always had a few words with each batter, always in the way of a greeting, never trash talk. With the veterans and especially the stars of the other team, it was frequently more than just a few words.

At the plate, Berra had a lifetime .285 batting average. This is pretty darned good for a catcher, but what made him special was that he was incredibly difficult to "pitch around" with men on base. Many a pitcher tried to throw him pitches out of the strike zone, hoping he would chase, swing, and miss. This was never a good move, as Berra was one of the best "bad pitch" hitters I ever saw. He had the ability to reach out for the pitch outside, high or low, and drive the ball for a base hit. He could also handle the inside pitch better than most.

There still are a lot of characters in the game, but I believe Berra will occupy a place that is unique among them all.

I guess "it ain't over until it's over", but this is pretty final. RIP Yogi, you will be missed.

posted by Howard_T at 02:17 PM on September 23, 2015

Thanks Howard. Always enjoy hearing about players before my time, especially Berra. Him being a 'bad pitch' hitter is something that always stuck with me. And that his physique didn't necessarily line up with his abilities.

My mom has a ball signed by a handful of old Yankees (getting the signatures back in the days when all you had to do was wait for them in the players lot). Even though he had nothing to do with getting those signatures, my dad loves to boast that both Yogi and Phil Linz (of the harmonica incident) are on there.

There were so many articles and whatnot out today, but a couple things that struck me. Alex Belth's obit for SI. And the account of Berra's time in WWII.

posted by goddam at 09:58 PM on September 23, 2015

For what it's worth, he was a sportsman who transcended his own sport, as the obituaries appearing in Australian, British and other overseas newspapers can attest.

Of course he was famous for his malapropisms, but it seems he was pretty special as a player and human being, too.


posted by owlhouse at 11:48 PM on September 23, 2015

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