The son of Italian-immigrants, Lawrence Peter Berra was born in St. Louis, MO in 1925. Berra got his famous nickname “yogi” as a teen, based on his resemblance to an Indian yogi seen on film. In 1946, following three years of service in the U.S. Navy, Berra began his long tenure as catcher for the New York Yankees, a run that lasted until 1963. Berra finished his career coaching and playing one season with the New York Mets (1965.) Afterward, Berra would serve as a manager for both New York clubs, with the Yankees in 1964, and again in 1984-1985, and with the Mets from 1972-1975.
Am accomplished hitter, Berra finished his career with a .285 batting average, hitting 358 home runs and 1,430 runs batted in. The 5’7 catcher was also a defensive workhouse, often leading the League in innings caught and working with the Yankees stellar pitching staff. For his abilities both at bat and behind the plate, Berra would win three American League MVP Trophies, and helping lead the Yankees to ten World Series titles. (1947, 1949-53, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962.) In all, Berra participated in 21 World Series during his career as a player and coach. An 18 time All-Star, Berra was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Berra was beloved for uttering unique philosophical malapropisms that became known as “yogi-isms.” Phrases coined by Berra such as “it aint over till its over” and “it's like déjà vu all over again” have gone on to become staples of American vernacular.
Berra died in 2015 at the age of 90.
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