This was the time of the most powerful Yankee team: Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto, Whitey Ford, Roger Marris, and Yogi Berra (the catcher). By the time I went to my first game when I was 7 years old, Yogi was already a hero, and he was already becoming famous for his Yogi-isms, wacky public utterances spoken with complete sincerity.
Yogi died September 22, 2015, at the age of 90. He came from a simpler time in our world and a much simpler time in the world of professional sports. He knew by the age of 14 that he was destined to play in the big leagues, and his belief propelled him into the American Legion Junior League where he was nicknamed "Yogi" because of his habit of sitting cross-legged on the ground with his arms crossed.
He was best friends with Joe Garagiola, and in 1942 they both tried out for the home town team, the St. Louis Cardinals. Garagiola was signed for a $500 bonus. Berra was offered a $250 signing bonus, but turned it down, believing he was worth more.
Yogi signed the next year with the Yankees for a $500 bonus, and the rest, as they say, is history. (What was Yasiel Puig's signing bonus in 2012- $12 Million Dollars?)
Yogi is gone now, but he has left us with his Yogi-isms, and I'd like to share my favorites with you:
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
"You can observe a lot by watching."
"We make too many wrong mistakes."
"Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical."
"It's deja vu all over again."
"The future ain't what it used to be."
"I really didn't say everything I said."
"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours."
On why he no longer went to Rigazzi's, a St. Louis restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."
"It ain't over till it's over."