This article, written by Cindy Boren, appears on The Washington Post.
Why Yogi Berra Matters
Yogi Berra was such a fixture, his “Yogi-isms” so celebrated as part of the American vocabulary, that it does him a great disservice to place expressions like “it ain’t over til it’s over” at the top of his legacy.
Those were pure gold, but for younger generations they obscure the fact that Berra, who died Tuesday at the age of 90, lived an extraordinary life that ended, quietly and fittingly, on the 69th anniversary of his debut with the New York Yankees. On that day so many years ago, Berra announced that he was more than some catcher from St. Louis; he was a legendary talent on the field, going 2-for-4 with two RBI — and a home run. He went on to play for 10 Yankees World Series winners and was named American League MVP three times in the early 1950s. A .285 hitter over 19 seasons with the Yankees and Mets (for one season), he was seemingly everywhere during the Yankees’ dynasty — including leaping into the arms of Don Larsen after catching the pitcher’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series.
Because of his constant presence as a player, a manager and a great quote, he somehow managed to become a universally beloved character on a widely despised baseball team because he was always simply Yogi being Yogi, with all that that entailed. Whether he actually said all the things he may or may not have said, it doesn’t really matter. They’re everywhere. According to lawyer and SI.com contributor Michael McCann, his sayings have been mentioned in 124 decisions by federal judges. He is cited more often than any other athlete in “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.”
That’s deceptive, though, because he lived a more heroic life off the baseball diamond. Read more at The Washington Post.