Last week it was announced that baseball legend and native St. Louisian, Yogi Berra died at the age of 90. Berra was a bright personality amongst baseball Hall of Famers; known equally for his contradictory quotes as he was for his plays on the field. Winning Streak would like to take this moment to pay homage to one of the St. Louis Metro area’s most beloved sports personalities.
Born and raised by Italian immigrants on The Hill, Lorenzo Pietro Berra, was one of five children. He grew up across the street from Joe Garagiola, a fellow Catholic, Italian-American who later became a friend and competitor in Major League Baseball. As a teen attended St. Mary’s High School in South City, where he learned to play both infield and outfield.
During the early 1940’s Berra served in the U.S. Navy to fight as a gunner in World War II. He was sent to Omaha Beach on D-Day to take part in the invasion on Normandy. After his service, Berra continued to excel in baseball. In 1942. Berra tried out for his hometown team, the St. Louis Cardinals. However, he was cut during tryouts in favor of his friend Garagiola. However, the move was motivated by a business deal gone bad that left Berra playing for the New York Yankees.
New York was where Yogi would make his mark on the field. He appeared in 14 World Series games, 10 of which resulted in championships. He was an All-Start for 15 seasons, known for his ability to hit any pitch and defensive prowess behind the plate. He later went on to manage and coach immediately after retirement. As a Yankee, he wore the retired number of his mentor, Bill Dickey, on his team jersey; he was later quoted, “I owe everything I did in baseball to Bill Dickey.”
In fact, it was after his baseball career had ended that brought his quotes to the forefront of his stardom. Famously known for the phrases, “It ain’t over til’ it’s over,” “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they’ll never go to yours,” and “I didn’t really say all the things I said.” His Yogisms left heads reeling and hearts warmed.
We regret having to say goodbye to this hometown hero – especially as playoff baseball draws near. So Winning Streak, urges to you to learn about the legends and appreciate the contemporaries you’re able to watch over the rest of the baseball season.