Yogi Berra’s quotes infiltrated our family’s banter to make us better players and people.

While reading Yogi Berra at 90: Quips and quotes from a Yankees Icon in honor of Yogi’s 90th birthday today, I nodded at this remark about Yogi’s quotes,

Millions of people know the most famous ones: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” “It’s déjà vu all over again.” And, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Until my oldest son started playing Little League baseball eleven years ago, I had little idea who Yogi Berra was. Was he the baseball player on the Mr. Coffee commercials? (No, that would be Joe Demaggio.) Once our family learned the history of the game, we were hooked on Yogi and his quotes. His common sense, turns of phrases, and good humor apply to our baseball life and beyond. Here are more of our favorites,

Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.

You can observe a lot by just watching.

We made too many wrong mistakes.

You should always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise, they won’t go to yours.

The future ain’t what it used to be.

I didn’t really say everything that I said.

A less popular Yogi Berra quote, or is it more of a life principle, is most often referenced through baseball writers and announcers. It has to do with Yogi Berra being a “bad ball” hitter.  Here’s an example from, Yogi: The Life & Times of an American Original (p. 340),

You know, a lot of guys say, ‘You’re a bad-ball hitter,’ I said, ‘No, the ball looked good to me. I swung at it.’ I could leave a pitch alone the first time like that. The next time, I hit at it, and I do something with it.

Our family takes baseball and life seriously. For us, playing and pondering the game is transformative. Life throws many perfect pitches right down the middle of the strike zone. It’s up to us to be ready to hit it out of the park! Life also throws a lot of bad balls. It’s up to us to see the good in the bad, to go for it, and to do something with it.

Are you a fan of Yogi Berra? His quotes? Quotes in general? Are you a bad-ball hitter? 

Happy Birthday, Yogi ~~~~~~~~ Angie Mc

22 thoughts on “Yogi Berra’s quotes infiltrated our family’s banter to make us better players and people.

  1. I am a huge fan of the Yog, Angie McFly, He ended up being the Mets’ manager, you know?!

    He also said: “Nobody ever goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” And: “Cut my pizza into six slices. I don’t think I can eat eight.”

    The best thing about quotes like that and the ones in your story, even if he didn’t say them, they make you think about everyday life different light. That’s what I will honor the Yog for on his 90th birthday. Happy Birthday, Yogi, and thank you for seeing life your own way, expressing yourself in such an engaging way, and encouraging everybody to say, “What does he really mean?”

    Great post today, Angie McFly. Yes, be ready to swing at life’s bad pitches. We have to be prepared for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Of course! You make a great point about all of the quotes that he didn’t make but which are attributed to him. All of the current talk about “finding your voice”, well Yogi has his voice in abundance!

      And I didn’t even get into his family life, “Berra married his wife Carmen on January 26, 1949. They have three sons and he was a longtime resident of Montclair, New Jersey, until his wife’s declining health caused them to move into a nearby assisted living facility. Two of Berra’s sons also played professional sports… Carmen Berra died on March 6, 2014 due to complications from a recent stroke, the couple having recently celebrated their 65th anniversary. Following Carmen’s death, the house in Montclair was listed for sale for $888,888 (a reference to Yogi’s uniform number) and quickly sold.” (Wikipedia)

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  2. Tim Russert used to have an interview show, and one night it featured four Hall of Fame catchers: Ray Knight, Tim McCarver, Carlton Fisk, and Yogi. Yogi told the best story:

    “We was playing the White Sox and Whitey Ford is pitching. Aparicio comes up, first pitch, gets a hit. Fox comes up, first pitch, gets a hit. Landis comes up, first pitch, gets a hit. Minoso comes up, first pitch, gets a three-run double. Casey [Stengel, also one of the great philosophers of the game] comes out, walks to the mound. When I get out there, Casey says, ‘How’s his stuff, Yogi?’ and I says, ‘I dunno, I ain’t caught none of it yet.'”

    He deserved the Hall of Fame just for that story…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hall of Fame story for sure! John, I just read this it to my 3 sons and we all laughed out loud! My 16 year old, Ian, is a middle infielder and his best friend, P., is their high school team’s catcher. Ian is passing the story on to P. in hopes that he can use it someday 😀

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  3. Angie, even Sox fans have to like Yogi. When my oldest was in high school (and already a Sox fan), he was writing for the school paper and gladly covered an event where Yogi was the guest of honor. My son was tickled to be in the presence of a famous ball player, even if he did wear pinstripes for most of his career.

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    • Right?! There aren’t too many Yankees who Sox fans can genuinely like (sure, give a tip of the hat but *like*?) What a great story for your son to pass down the generations. I wonder what jokes he told? Does your son still have the story he wrote?

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      • Yes, Angie, I have a copy and there’s another in his scrapbook. (I made one for each of my 3 sons as a high school graduation present). I’ll have to mention it again to him in honor of Yogi’s 90th. Also, I used to work with a guy who grew up in Montclair NJ and was friends with Yogi’s son Dale, who made it to the majors in the 80s, I think.

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  4. I delighted and somewhat offended my love, the professional philosopher, by pointing out that Yogi Berra’s uniform number was retired for two people, him and Bill Dickey. The logic of the same number being retired to honor him and someone else was troublesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know that, Joseph! From http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/12/11/retired-numbers-and-the-yankees/ “No. 8: Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra. This was an interesting one. The Yankees did not retire Dickey’s number when he retired in 1946. Instead, two years later, they gave it to a young catcher named Yogi (up to that point, Berra had worn No. 38 and No. 35). So, two of the greatest catchers in baseball history wore No. 8 for the Yankees. In 1972, the Yankees decided to retire the number for Yogi, but they couldn’t leave out Dickey. So they retired the number in both names.” That is odd. But now I have a little more baseball trivia under my belt, thank you!

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  5. When the bad pitches come I do my best to respond to it and and let it unfold. Its taken me some years to figure that one out. Looking back though I can see that some of those bad pitches that I took a hack at provided me with some of the most rewarding, character building outcomes I have experienced, life changing! It is always good to hear from you and Yogi.

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