Yogi Berra

Lawrence Peter Berra
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1972
Primary team: New York Yankees
Primary position: Catcher

Yogi Berra is a cultural icon whose fame transcended the baseball diamond. “Yogi-isms” such as “it ain’t over till its over” and "a nickel ain't worth a dime anymore” have found there way into the vernacular. People think Yogi is funny, but as his old manager Casey Stengel once put it "They say he's funny. Well, he has a lovely wife and family, a beautiful home, money in the bank, and he plays golf with millionaires. What's funny about that?”

Lawrence Peter Berra got the nickname Yogi during his teenage years, when he was playing American Legion Baseball. One afternoon, after attending a movie that had a short piece on India, a friend Jack McGuire Jr. noticed a resemblance between him and the “yogi”, or person who practiced yoga, on the screen. McGuire said “I’m going to call you Yogi” and from that moment on, the name stuck.

One thing is clear, as colorful as Yogi’s stories were and as popular as his star shined off of the field, he was also quite the character behind home plate. He had a reputation as a talker, attempting to take opposing batters off their game. In the 1958 World Series, Yogi kept telling Hank Aaron to “hit with the label up on the bat”. Finally Aaron turned and said “Yogi, I came up here to hit, not to read”.

In addition to his colorful persona, what made Yogi so great was that he was one of the most feared hitters the game had ever seen. Teammate Hector Lopez said “Yogi had the fastest bat I ever saw. He could hit a ball late, that was already past him, and take it out of the park. The pitchers were afraid of him because he'd hit anything, so they didn't know what to throw. Yogi had them psyched out and he wasn't even trying to psych them out”. What was even more amazing was that when he donned the “tools of ignorance”, he had a reputation as being one of the best in the business behind the plate as well, as his manager Casey Stengel praised “Why has our pitching been so great? Our catcher that's why. He looks cumbersome but he's quick as a cat”.

Yogi hung up the spikes for good after the 1965 season, a fifteen-time All-Star, a three time American League MVP Award winner and a ten time World Series champion.

"He seemed to be doing everything wrong, yet everything came out right. He stopped everything behind the plate and hit everything in front of it. "
Mel Ott

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1972
Primary Team: New York Yankees
Position Played: Catcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Birth place: St. Louis, Missouri
Birth year: 1925
Played for:
New York Yankees (1946-1963)
New York Mets (1965)
Managed:
New York Yankees (1964)
New York Mets (1972-1975)
New York Yankees (1984-1985)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
2120
At BatsAB
7555
RunsR
1175
HitsH
2150
Doubles2B
321
Triples3B
49
Home RunsHR
358
RBIRBI
1430
Stolen BasesSB
30
WalksBB
704
Batting AverageBA
.285
OPSOPS
.830
On Base %OBP
.348
Slugging %SLG
.482