After the last few days (and the last few weeks) I decided we need to lighten things up around here. So I submit the following.
I was searching for books about Yogi Berra and this one popped up. Since I was familiar with the author, I decided to give it a try.
“The Wit and Wisdom of Yogi Berra” by Phil Pepe, was first published in 1974. The inside back jacket cover says it “explores the boy, player, hero, coach, manager, husband, father, buffoon, and wise man who is Yogi Berra. It’s a charming, sidesplitting look at one of baseball’s favorite characters”.
I remember the author, Phil Pepe, as being Ron Santo’s coauthor on “Few and Chosen”, a look at the best Chicago Cubs through the ages.
This book contains many stories about Yogi, some short, some lengthy, some probably true. Here are a few of my favorites:
Casey Stengel is quoted: “You have to have a catcher, because if you don’t, you’re likely to have a lot of passed balls.”
Another story begins as some players in the clubhouse were talking about life insurance. “Yogi had just taken out a big policy, and the other player said it was a waste of money. “What the hell good will all that dough do you?’ he asked.
‘Well,’ said Yogi, ‘I’ll get it when I die’.”
Yogi and his wife, Carmen, were about to watch a movie on television. “Berra had talked for days about seeing this particular flick, The Magnificent Seven, starring Steve McQueen.
‘He made that picture before he died,’ Berra explained.”
Berra’s close friend and Montclair neighbor, Dr. John McMullen, was the principal stockholder of the American Shipbuilding Company, of which George Steinbrenner is chairman of the board. “When Steinbrenner assembled a group to buy the Yankees from the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1973, he asked McMullen to join him as a limited partner. It was years later that McMullen said, ‘Nothing is more limited than being a limited partner of George Steinbrenner’.”
Yogi was arguing with an umpire that a drive to the outfield hit the concrete and should have been a home run instead of a double: “Anybody who can’t hear the difference between a ball hitting wood and a ball hitting concrete must be blind.”
“The Wit and Wisdom of Yogi Berra” is full of stories like that. I enjoyed reading it immensely. I recommend it highly.