Yogi Berra once reportedly said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Indeed, the New York Yankees legend said a lot of interesting things during his long and colorful life. Well, for the great Yankees catcher, it’s over.
Yogi died today at age 90.
Whether he said all those goofy thing, muttered those mangled malaprops, it doesn’t really matter. He once said he didn’t say “most of the things I said.”
But let’s put this man’s life and ability into a bit of perspective, shall we?
Berra served in the Navy during World War II. One of his tours was at a place called Normandy Beach, France, where he served as a gunner’s mate on an attack transport during the invasion.
One does not draw that kind of assignment by being a numbskull.
A dozen years later, Berra was the catcher while his teammate — pitcher Don Larsen — threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Berra’s task in that historic game was to call the pitches that Larsen would throw.
Catchers generally serve as a sort of surrogate manager on the field of play. They are the only position players who can see the entire field on every play.
One doesn’t draw that assignment, either, by being a dummy.
Yogi Berra made a name for himself first and foremost by being a great baseball player. The other stuff, the goofy statements? He might have said some of those things.
It was part of his shtick.