Monday, March 30, 2009

You Don't Hit With Your Face

We suspect, that many who read this are going to be quite surprised.

Afterall, when you think about Lawrence Peter Berra, aka Yogi, you, almost always, go to his infamous bag of malapropisms, and think, "what a lug head".

Well, Salon's King Kaufman's interview ("The genius of Yogi Berra") with author Allan Barra, who has just penned a new book, "Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee" will point out that Yogi was anything but a "lug head";

But, as Barra points out, Yogi's been a success at almost everything he ever tried. Pitchers who were brilliant when he was behind the plate never did anything much when he wasn't. Whitey Ford, one of the greatest left-handers ever, often says he never shook off one of Berra's signs, and Don Larsen has said the same thing about his World Series perfect game.

Berra won more World Series than any other player. He won three Most Valuable Player awards and appeared in 17 straight All-Star games. He was the leader and the on-field constant of the only team ever to win five straight World Series, the 1949-53 New York Yankees.

He was only the second manager ever to win a pennant in each league. He was a great coach and he's a good businessman. And just about everyone who's ever dealt with Yogi Berra has come away not just liking him, but respecting his decency, his integrity and his intelligence. There's more to Yogi Berra than meets the eye.


Overall, though, I have to say that before I started thinking about writing this book I just didn't appreciate Yogi's greatness. I never saw him as the glue that held the only five-time, five-World Series championship team [the 1949-53 Yankees] together.

Barra talks with Kaufman about the incredible success Yogi Berra had, both on, and off, the field, his contract negotiations (in the day before greasy agents), and, if he (Barra) were starting a baseball team;
So, you know, overall I would say, yes, I would take Babe Ruth, I would love to have Lou Gehrig, I'd love to have Mantle. But I'm not certain that if I was gonna pick a baseball team and I wanted overall value for 10 years, that I wouldn't start with Yogi Berra as my first pick.
Go read (and there's a link there to listen to the audio version of the interview) "The genius of Yogi Berra"

It's a good one, and, as Yogi might say, "You can observe a lot by watching."

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