Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yogi Berra- cool guy

As a boy growing up in St. Louis it was anathema to root for anything New York, we worshipped in the National League having no truck with the American league especially the Yankees, with one exception Yogi Berra.

At home, baseball broadcasts on the radio were the background music of our lives.  The voice of the Cardinals was Harry Carey (who later became the Chicago Cubs broadcaster), and his sidekick was a local boy and former Cardinal catcher Joe Garagiola, who went on to a long a prosperous broadcasting career.  Garagiola used to brag that not only wasn't he the best catcher in baseball, as a kid he wasn't the best catcher on his block.  Joe's best friend as a kid was the boy across the street, Yogi Berra who later became a Yankee catcher and Hall of Famer.

Garagiola left the Cardinal broadcast booth and was replaced by a young announcer named Jack Buck, who later was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a broadcaster, as was Garagiola.  In one of those truth is stranger than fiction episodes, Buck and his wife purchased their first home on the street where Joe and Yogi grew up.  It is most likely the only street in America where three Baseball Hall of Fame members lived.  The street has been renamed to Baseball Hall of Fame Place in honor of the tree men.    

Yogi whose birthday was Sunday was as well known for his pithy comments as for his baseball prowess.  Here from Things People Said are a couple of my favorite Yogi-isms.

"This is like deja vu all over again."

"You can observe a lot just by watching."

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"I want to thank you for making this day necessary." -- On Yogi Berra Appreciation Day in St. Louis in 1947.

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there."

"If you can't imitate him, don't copy him."

"Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."

"It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much."

"Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting."

"I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?"

"A nickel isn't worth a dime today."

"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."

Once, Yogi's wife Carmen asked, "Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?" Yogi replied, "Surprise me."

"Do you mean now?" -- When asked for the time.

"I take a two hour nap, from one o'clock to four."

"You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn't enough in the second half you give what's left."

"I made a wrong mistake."

"If the fans don't come out to the ball park, you can't stop them."

"Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel."

"The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase."

"It ain't the heat; it's the humility."

"You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours."

"I didn't really say everything I said.

Happy Birthday Yogi