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Yogi Berra - Laughing With Yogi

baseball saying including steinbrenner

Firings and personal dramas have little to do with public interest in Berra. At five feet, eight inches and 185 pounds, Berra was teased about his physique as a player; he also attracted attention with his love of comic books, movies, and ice cream. But by far the greatest source of amusement has been Berra's verbal inventions, which have been remarked on since the beginning of his career. Some are simply examples of the ballplayer saying the wrong thing with comic effect, while others require more careful consideration. His now famous statement "It ain't over till it's over" has been quoted and copied countless times. Berra first said it in 1973, when he was managing the Mets. His team had been nine games out of first place in September before going on to win the division and the pennant, proving the appropriateness of the comment.

The popularity of Yogi-isms might even overshadow his fame on the baseball field. All kinds of public figures like to quote Berra, including George Bush, who borrowed his line "We made too many wrong mistakes" in a televised debate. Others admire the philosophical implications of his comment "If the world was perfect, it wouldn't be" and the wisdom of "Always go to other people's funerals. Otherwise they won't go to yours." On the subject of baseball, Berra is famous for saying, "Ninety percent of the game is half mental" and "If people don't want to come out to the ballpark, nobody's going to stop them." According to Berra, he is unable to identify a Yogi-ism himself and has to be told when he has just said something remarkable. But that hasn't prevented him from publishing several books on the subject, including The Yogi Book and When You Come To a Fork in the Road, Take It.

In 1989 Berra retired from the Astros. He has since been involved with several major projects, including the creation of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center at Montclair State University. The museum was the site of the 1999 reconciliation between Berra and George Steinbrenner. For fourteen years Berra had not stepped foot in Yankee Stadium, even when Steinbrenner had put up a plaque in his honor. The Yankees' owner now apologized, saying that firing Berra was "the worst mistake I've ever made in baseball," according to Time. Certainly, he could hardly have fired a nicer guy. Berra has become a perennial favorite, even a baseball legend, as someone who has been cheered for his athletic prowess, admired for his baseball know-how, and enjoyed for his quirky humor.

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