September 22 marked a day of great sadness across all of baseball. New York Yankees and baseball legend Yogi Berra passed away at the age of 90.
Berra, a Hall of Famer, is regarded as one of the best catchers of all time and had been a prominent figure within baseball even years after his retirement. Famous not only for his exceptional talent on the field but even his sayings, coined "Yogi-isms." Add in the fact that he is a World War II veteran and one can truly call Berra an American hero.
On the Field Success
Berra broke and established various records and is considered among the all-time sports greats. Up there with the likes of Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, and Joe DiMaggio, Berra was insanely popular in much of the 20th century.
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He debuted in 1946 with the Yankees and his final bat came with the Mets in 1965. In all his career, he went to the World Series 14 times and came out of it ten times with a ring. To say this is impressive would be an understatement. Berra was a 15-time All- Star with 18 All- Star selections and a three-time American League MVP.
From leading the Yankees in RBI for seven straight seasons to catching Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, the list of accolades for Yogi Berra goes on and on. It goes without saying that Berra was an invaluable member for all the teams he played on and managed.
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Berra gained his fame and recognition through his playing style that reaches another level. Berra frequently swung at pitches outside of the strike zone and still hit them with an unmatched level of power, in his entire career he struck out only 414 times, and when it came down to it Yogi was a clutch player as well. He came through when it was most needed.
Yogi and his luck
Yogi had a reputation not only as an excellent player but a lucky person as well. Casey Stengel once said, "If he fell in a sewer, he'd come out with a gold watch." While that might be a hypothetical example even Berra recognized his luck.
In 1957, a foul tip off Larry Raines' bat broke Berra's face mask. He later said in 2011, "Good thing that it happened. I had sinus trouble and migraine headaches my whole life until then. Everything cleared up after I got hurt."
His luck followed him in his managerial and coaching career as well. In 1969 as a coach with the Mets, the Amazin's pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World Series history. When he went back to the Yankees in 1976 they won a pennant for the first time since Berra led them to a World Series in 1964.
When Berra joined the Astros in 1986, the team won the National League West. When it comes down to it, his luck wasn't what got him to leave the legacy he has left, but it for sure helped him.
Berra off the field
Even off the field, Berra has been an American icon. Berra was nominated to receive the Presidental Medal of Freedom. Berra served in the Navy in World War II and was one of the soldiers who participated in D- Day Invasion.
He was nominated for the Medal of Freedom after a petition was started on the White House website saying, "Yogi Berra should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A man of unimpeachable integrity and respect, he befriended the first black and Latino baseball players in Major League Baseball.
He is currently an ambassador for Athlete Ally, which promotes LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights in sports." Berra is also someone who values education. He created a scholarship at Columbia University and through his Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center he helped to teach the values of respect, sportsmanship, and inclusion that he himself demonstrated throughout his life and career.
Another part of Berra's fame comes through his odd and sometimes funny saying known as "Yogi-isms" Among the most famous of these sayings:
“It ain’t over ’til it’s over”
“We made too many wrong mistakes”
“The future ain’t what it used to be”
It is clear that Yogi Berra is a player and person who will be dearly missed. In the short time after his death, he was honored by the world in so many ways.
From the Empire State Building being lit in Yankees colors, to moments of silence prior to games of the Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, Mets, Nationals, Tigers, Pirates, and St. Louis Cardinals, and touching tributes by the Yankees as well.
Rest in Peace Mr. Berra.
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