Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lawrence Peter Berra (1925-2015).

       Like most of you, I woke up to the terrible news that Yogi Berra had died last night.  I covered Yogi on his 90th birthday a few months ago and made a list of his famous Yogisms.  But we should not just remember him as the greatest philosopher in baseball history, we should also remember that he was a hell of a ballplayer.  Let's breakdown a few numbers:
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Rumor has it he also played for some other team in New York.

      6 - Yogi Berra turned the most double plays in a season by an American League catcher six times in his career (1949-1952, 1954 & 1956). He also caught the most games eight times (1950-1957), recorded the most putouts eight times (1950-1952, 1954-1957, 1959), had the most assists three times (1950-1952) and had the highest fielding average two times (1958-195).

    8 - Yogi Berra had his number (#8) retired in 1972 by the New York Yankees, jointly honoring Berra and Bill Dickey, his predecessor as the Yankees' star catcher.

    10 - Number of World Championships won as a player, the most in MLB history.  He played for 14 total pennant winners.

    15 - Yogi Berra, who won the league's MVP award three times (1951, 1954 and 1955), received Most Valuable Player Award votes in fifteen consecutive seasons, tied with Barry Bonds and second only to Hank Aaron's nineteen straight seasons.  He also was the first catcher in Major League history to win back-to-back MVP Awards.

    40 - Yogi Berra was ranked fortieth on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players in Major League history.

    75 - Yogi Berra played in seventy-five World Series games over the course of his career.

    117 - Yogi Berra caught both games of a doubleheader one-hundred seventeen times in his career and at least one-hundred games across ten seasons.

    305 - Home runs as a catcher, the most in history when he retired.  He is still one  of only four catchers to hit over 300 homers at the position.

    1972 - Yogi Berra was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, receiving 85.61% of the votes on his second ballot.

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Oh yeah, those guys.

And let us not forget the most important thing of all, as indicated by the first card in the second scan: he was a 19-year old Second Class Seaman during World War II, one of a six-man crew on a U.S. Navy rocket boat, and took part in the Normandy Invasion on D-Day.  This was before he was the best catcher in American League and probably Major League history.  There will never be another quite like him.  Rest in peace.

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