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The World Lost A National Treasure Today

Updated on September 23, 2015
Rest In Peace, Yogi Berra.
Rest In Peace, Yogi Berra. | Source

I Never Saw Him Play

His time came and ended before I was old enough to watch him play. I only saw him in clips, videos, on various television shows detailing the greats of the game. But his personality, his love of life, his overall joy at just being who he was shone through in everything he did. Perhaps I know him best for the quotes, the sayings, the "Yogi-isms" attributed to him. Some he uttered; some perhaps not. Whether he did or did not give voice to some of the sayings they nonetheless were attributed to him and even if they were not his they speak volumes about how he was thought of, adored, even loved by a public that knew him in the same manner I did.

From afar.

The Records

The statistics speak for themselves: 15 straight years he was an All Star; more RBI's (1,430) than any other catcher in Baseball; led the league in assists five time; 148 consecutive games without an error; a 10 time World Champion; 3 time MVP; and leading the team in RBI's five times when Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle were playing. Tell me: how does that happen?

Perhaps one of the most astounding statistics that jumped out at me in researching Yogi was that although he swung at almost anything within his reach he almost never struck out. Called "a notorious bad ball hitter" he only struck out 414 times in a 19 year career. If my information is correct, in his worst year he struck out 38 times. There are players today that strike out that much in a month and exceed his lifetime total in two years!

Fellow St. Louis native and Major League Baseball catcher/announcer Joe Garagiola grew up near Yogi. He was once questioned about his ability to play the same position (catcher) as Yogi. Reportedly he said "How could I ever say I was a great catcher when I wasn't even the best catcher on my block?" Even Joe had a Yogi-ism of sorts when speaking about Yogi.

How true that is!
How true that is! | Source

"I Didn't Really Say Everything I Said!"

But it is the sayings, the "Yogi-isms" that I, and perhaps most people, know him best for. Sayings like:

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

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

"You can observe a lot just by watching."

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

My personal favorite was "It was like deja vu all over again."

Then there was "It ain't over till it's over"; "Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical"; and "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore".

Oftentimes his words would bring a "Huh?" or a chuckle but if you looked beyond the surface you just might find there was more wit there than simple humor.

Some years back, his wife Carmen asked of him "Yogi, where would you like to be buried?". He thought for a moment then told her he need to sleep on it. The next morning he gave her his answer:

"Surprise me."

How fitting, how typical of this beloved man. One who inspired a generation with his play, and more by his wit and wisdom. He was even used in a commercial in which he uttered the immortal words

"They give you cash, which is just as good as money". Oh Yogi, how you will be missed. Never will I see an episode of the cartoon inspired by him, Yogi Bear, again without missing his smile, his wisdom. Our nation lost another war hero, as Yogi fought on the beach at Normandy. baseball lost perhaps its greatest ambassador to the world, and the Yankees lost perhaps their greatest living legend.

He was a giant of a man on the field of play although he was only 5' 7". His play placed him on the shoulders of the average player and allowed him to reach into the upper echelons of the greatest to ever play the game. His place in the Hall of Fame, to which he reportedly stated (in his typical humble fashion):

"I guess the first thing I should do is thank everybody who made this day necessary" is revered alongside the Babe, the Mick, the Yankee Clipper and the Iron Man and other Yankee greats. Someday soon others will be added there, sharing the space inside the Hall such as Jeter and Mo, but forevermore there will ever be only one Yogi. God broke the mold when he was born and there will never be another. I know that somewhere up there, God is standing beside Yogi and something sweet and endearing is being uttered by Yogi causing a smile to crease the face of God. We lost him here but he gained a permanent home up there.

The world lost a national treasure today. I think that kind of sounds like a Yogi-ism itself, don't you?

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    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 2 years ago from Missouri

      Pro and Larry, thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Berra is one of the most interesting athletes to have ever lived. He will be remembered fondly.

    • ProSportandSpine profile image

      ProSportandSpine 2 years ago from Gig Harbor, WA

      Thank you. We have lost a great man but his wisdom and legacy will last forever.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 2 years ago from Missouri

      V, thank you. I am sure his family and fans thank you as well. Take care.

      Cheyenne, I appreciate your taking a moment here and your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed this. Have a great day, okay?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Yogi Berra truly was a legend. I'm not a baseball fan, but even I was aware of his place in people's hearts. Silly me, but I didn't know he was the inspiration for Jellystone Park's favorite picanic basket toting bear.

      You did a wonderful job of paying tribute to this man who had a unique way with words, Mike.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      It is a great tribute. Even though I am not a fan of baseball, it appealed to me much. It really looks he was a great personality. And am sorry for this loss to baseball game and all his fans. May his soul rest in peace.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 2 years ago from Missouri

      RJ you are dead on. His friends thought he sat just like the yogi they saw and began calling him by that nickname. Thank you and take care.

      Mary, I should have known you would have been a Yogi fan. And I agree with your sentiments on him. And I loved your Yogi-ism. I'm sure he would as well. Have a wonderful one, Mary of Tilson. Thank you.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      There are no words to staunch the sadness at the loss of this great man. His modesty and genuine love of life spread throughout the world.

      A lovely tribute. I grew up with Yogi and will sorely miss his greatness.

      His sense of humor was unmatched and never will be, is that a Yogiism?Put in a good word for me Yogi.

    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 2 years ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      He got the nickname Yogi from a childhood friend who thought he looked like an Indian Spiritualist they saw in a movie - his real name is Lawrence.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 2 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you Ann. Yes he was a wonderful man with a sense of humor that knew no boundaries. The world lost an irreplaceable person. Take care Ma'am.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I hadn't heard of the man but I sure liked watching Yogi Bear and didn't realise his name came from a baseball player!

      Some great quotes there; he obviously had a great sense of humour and was loved by all. Funny how the world always remembers those kind of guys, which is how it should be. A sense of affection and loss are a great tribute to anyone. This says it all.

      Ann

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 2 years ago from Missouri

      Bill, we are growing old(er) and I just flat don't like it! When Stan the Man went it broke my heart and now Yogi. Sigh. The world ain't the same buddy. Take care my friend.

      lions44 thank you. I seriously had a tear in my eye when I read the news and a few more as I wrote this. He was truly one of a kind. Have a wonderful day and maybe we should remember him by saying something he uttered to those we pass today. What do you think?

      Jaye, thank you so much for choosing my little hub. He was one of my favorites and most of the nation's too I feel. Sadly, the fat lady has sung and his game is now over. Thanks for the thought and for taking a moment here. May God bless and keep you.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I only have time to read one hub and chose this one because Yogi Berra's malapropisms always made me smile or chuckle. He definitely was a national treasure. Thanks for this tribute. (If the buttons hadn't been taken away, I'd vote Up-plus!)

      Jaye

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Great work. I'm very sad today. He was part of my childhood as a Yankees and Mets manager; and he always took the time to talk with the fans. Not many of those guys left from the great Yankees teams. Accessible and genuine. Rare qualities today. Thx. Shared.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's pretty rare to find a professional athlete who is loved by all...even non-sports fans...but Berra was and he was for sure a treasure. All my childhood heroes are dying off, Mike. Say it ain't so!

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