Growing up there was two Yogis in my life. One was, “The Bear,” and the other, was Berra.
Yesterday, our National Past Time lost one of the greatest whoever played the game to natural causes. And for the guy who coined the phrase, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” it unfortunately is.
At the age of 90, Berra leaves us with a legacy of long balls and laugh out loud witticisms to last a lifetime.
I loved Yogi Berra because he was this diminutive, round-faced powerhouse behind the plate that proved size doesn’t matter. A Hall of Fame catcher who appeared in more World Series than any player, collecting an unprecedented 10 championship rings – one for every finger.
He crouched behind the plate in Yankee pinstripes for all but four games before becoming a NY Met. Berra took the helm as the Mets manager in 1972 and the following year he helped the team win the NL pennant.
After managing stints with the Yankees and coaching duties with the Houston Astros, Berra retired his oversized glove and became known as an advertising pitchman to a new generation who missed the boat on his more prolific career.
Today I learned that Berra was a gunner in the Navy aboard a landing craft that was among the first wave of allied ships to reach Normandy on D-Day.
Next month during my trip to France, I will be visiting that very site, as one of my traveling companions dads was also one of the heroes that embarked on those shores that fateful day.
Hopefully, vacationing to France in the fall will ease the pain of dealing with a ton of tourists. Which brings to mind one of my favorite Berraisms. “No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.”