Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra is one of the most revered people to ever be associated with Major League Baseball. Beginning as a star catcher who spent almost all of his 19-year career with the New York Yankees, Berra would go on to manage the Yankees and New York Mets at the conclusion of his playing career. He would also serve as a coach for the aforementioned clubs, as well as for the Houston Astros. Along with his baseball exploits - which also include 3 American League MVP awards, 18 All Star appearances and a staggering 13 World Series championships (10 as a player) - Berra is widely known for his sense of humor and clever quips, including his famous saying, "It ain't over 'til it's over".
Berra was induced into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. Amazingly, despite being considered the greatest catcher in MLB history by many, Berra was not a first-ballot inductee, having gathered only 67% of the vote in his first year of eligibility in 1971.
I completed this sketch card in September 2012.
10 random facts about Yogi Berra:
- Berra served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he was a gunner's mate in the D-Day invasion.
- In Game 3 of the 1947 World Series, he hit the first pinch-hit homer in World Series history, connecting off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca.
- He is one of only 4 players in AL history to be named MVP 3 times.
- As a player, coach or manager, Berra appeared in 21 World Series.
- His 10 World Series championships as a player is a record that still stands.
- Although known for his clever and sometimes thought-provoking quips, he quit school after the eighth grade.
- He received MVP votes in 15 consecutive seasons, tied with Barry Bonds and second to Hank Aaron's 19 straight seasons.
- The number 8 was retired in 1972 by the Yankees, jointly honoring Berra and Bill Dickey, his predecessor as the Yankees' star catcher.
- He was given the nickname "Yogi" from a friend who remarked that he resembled a Hindu yogi whenever he sat around with his arms and legs crossed while waiting to bat.
- On July 18, 1999, Berra was honored with "Yogi Berra Day" at Yankee Stadium, with Don Larsen throwing the first pitch to Berra, in honor of Larsen's perfect game from the 1956 World Series. During that day's game, Yankees pitcher David Cone would go on to throw a perfect game against the Montreal Expos.