Yogi Berra passed away last week at 90. His death occurred 69 years to the day after his first at bat, a home run, as a Yankee.
He was an amazing baseball player and a better man. Everyone admired him.
He is famous for his Yogi isms. One occurred a few years ago. Before Carman, his wife of 65 years died. She asked him if he died, would he prefer to be buried in New York City, his hometown of St Louis, or Montclair, New Jersey, where they lived for more than 50 years.
His answer, “Surprise me.”
Yogi, the man, was unique. I heard a producer on CBS radio describe an event in 1996. He was a teenager stocking shelves in a supermarket on Christmas Eve when he spied Yogi doing some shopping. He was excited and pointed him out to two of his coworkers. Neither cared.
Just then Yogi walked up to him and said, “Do you have any strawberries in the back?”
“Sorry, Mr Berra, we do not.”
“That’s okay, kid. ” and he shook the young man’s hand and said, “Merry Christmas.”
The producer was certain that he never cared about the berries.
There are few athletes that I have seen or known that could have pulled that off with such elegance. Maybe Jean Beliveau.
When I was young, everyone hated the Yankees, but everyone loved Yogi. That is not such a bad epitaph.
We will miss you, Yogi.