Yogi: It's Over
Dude had a rich 90-year-run.
- Dropped out of school in eighth grade to play baseball.
- Would've signed with the hometown Cardinals if they offered him the same $500 they gave neighborhood bud Joe Garagiola; his deal was for $250.
- Lived through the Normandy invasion in WWII and received a Purple Heart after being grazed by a bullet in Marseilles.
- Appeared in 21 World Series as player, coach, or manager, holding records for games played, plate appearances, hits, and doubles.
- Became a social phenomenon.
Mr Berra is a very strange fellow of remarkable abilities.
-- Casey Stengel
His response to those who said he was ugly:
I never saw nobody hit one with his face.
When writers said he was too unattractive to marry his girlfriend -- Carmen Short, who became his wife in 1949 -- Yogi brushed that off, too:
I'm human, ain't I?
He has continued to allow people to regard him as an amiable clown because it brings him a quick acceptance, despite ample proof -- onfield and off -- that he is intelligent, shrewd, and opportunistic.
-- Robert Lipsyte, New York Times, October 1963
It was August 1973, and the New York Mets were mired in the NL East's sixth place, playing sub-.500 baseball.
When a writer stated what seemed obvious, Yogi's response became the definitive expression of stripped-down logic:
It ain't over 'til it's over.
He was right ...
If only it could be déjà vu all over again.