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Monday, September 22, 2008

Yogi Berra on Yankee Stadium tribute

Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra (born May 12, 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former Major League Baseball player and manager. He played almost his entire career for the New York Yankees and was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. Arguably the most beloved baseball player since Babe Ruth, Yogi Berra was one of only four players to be named the Most Valuable Player of the American League three times, and one of only six managers to lead both American and National League teams to the World Series.

Yogi Berra, who quit school in the eighth grade, has a tendency toward malapropism and fracturing the English language in highly provocative, interesting ways. Simultaneously denying and confirming his reputation, Yogi Berra once stated, "I didn't really say everything I said."

Yogi Berra's Career Statistics -

Average 285
Games 2120
At Bats 7555
Runs 1175
Hits 2150
2B 321
3B 49
HR 358
RBI 1430
BB 704
SO 414

Yogi Berra's Comment

# As a general comment on baseball: "Ninety percent of this game is half mental."
# On why he no longer went to a popular St. Louis restaurant: "Nobody goes there no more, it's too crowded!"
# "It ain't over till it's over." - After Berra's 1973 Mets trailed the Chicago Cubs by 9½ games in the National League East; the Mets rallied to win the division title on the next-to-last day of the season.
# When giving directions to his New Jersey home, which was equally accessible via two different routes: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
# On being the guest of honor at an awards banquet: "I'd like to thank all those who made this night necessary."
# "It's like déjà vu all over again"
# "You can observe a lot by just watching."
# "It's tough making predictions, especially about the future"
# "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours."
# On a trip to Cooperstown, to attend a dinner, Phil Rizzuto commented to Yogi, "I think we're lost." To which Yogi responded "Yeah, but we're making great time."
# When told by a friend he looked 'cool' today, Yogi innocently responded "You don't look so hot yourself."
# When asked if he wanted a personal pizza cut into 4 or 8 slices, Yogi responded with "Better cut it into 4, I don't think I could eat 8.

Latest news on Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra enjoys final night at Cathedral.

For the celebrations honoring the final game at Yankee Stadium, the former catcher donned a uniform similar to the one Yogi Berra wore during his playing days. Instead of the crisp white jersey worn by current players, Berra's was off-white, and the fabric was the traditional flannel.

He wore the uniform through the pregame ceremonies when he was joined by former teammates and fellow Yankees alumni on the field to honor the history of baseball's Cathedral. The memories Berra holds from his time as a player made the day bittersweet as the club prepares to move across 161st Street to its new facilities.

"You hate to see it go," Yogi Berra said. "I played here all my life. Playing with all the guys I played with was terrific."

Yogi Berra never played in the stadium as it stood Sunday night. He finished his career before it was remodeled in 1973. But the ballpark still holds the same meaning for him as the original stadium.

"It's still Yankee Stadium," he said. "It will always be in my heart."

When asked what he would want from the Cathedral, Yogi Berra joked that home plate would make a nice souvenir, knowing that that particular piece of stadium memorabilia will likely end up in Cooperstown rather than Berra's house.

Known for his unconventional sayings and "Yogi-isms," Berra was asked if he would have to amend the phrase "It ain't over 'til it's over," because even once the building is gone, the aura of Yankee Stadium will never fade.

Yogi Berra laughed.

"I say things I don't even know I say sometimes," he said. "But I'm sorry to see it over, I'll say that."

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