This 2001 entry into the “Books by Yogi Berra” sweepstakes, titled: “When You Come to a Fork in the Road, TAKE IT! – Inspiration and Wisdom from One of Baseball’s Greatest Heroes” by Yogi Berra with Dave Kaplan, comprises 40 chapters, each a 2 to 5 page flesh out of a specific “Yogi-ism”.
The back cover features a unique photo of a “Fork In The Road”.
Each of the chapters is not so much a description of what caused Yogi to say what he said, but rather a discourse on what thoughts the individual Yogi-ism generates in Mr. Berra now, given the luxury of hindsight. As Paul Harvey might have said, these chapters constitute “The Rest Of The Story”.
I’d like to share with you some of my favorite lines from the book, taken entirely out of context:
– “If I’m not hitting, I don’t blame me. I blame the bat. I try a new one.”
– “Experience is a great thing – everyone can learn from it.”
– “I said ‘you’re nothing without a bullpen’ thirty years ago. That was before starting pitchers considered five or six innings “a quality start.” And before relief pitching became so specialized – one pitcher coming in to face one batter, another coming in to face another, the closer only pitching the ninth. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t agree with that philosophy. I say, keep a guy in there if he keeps getting outs. Why remove someone if he’s doing the job?”
– “As a catcher and a manager, I’d never get down on my relievers. Even after a loss, I’d always pat ‘em on the back and say something encouraging. Always be reassuring when someone fails, because you may need them to perform tomorrow. Everybody has a bad day at the office or at home, the idea is to not dwell on it. The idea is to bounce back.”
– “Talking is a big part of any job. Late in my career, when I got switched to the outfield, it was easier on my knees, but I really didn’t like it too much. Mainly because there was nobody to talk to.”
– “Career decisions are important. So is getting on the right road. Why take the trouble to go to law school unless you’re certain you need to? Have a vision, a goal of what you want to do. Unless you’re sure of where you want to go, you’ll never get there.”
– “…the other teams had had their hot streak, and we were due for ours.”
– “Like that rule says, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you handle it that matters.”
– “But the money in the game has changed everything. Players feel little loyalty to their team – and owners feel little loyalty to the players. The players are interchangeable, and rosters are like revolving doors. Money overwhelms loyalty, and that’s unfortunate.”
The inside jacket cover of this book claims that “Yogi provides inspiring, funny, and surprisingly moving essays on life, happiness, and getting through the slumps.” I would agree with that synopsis. I highly recommend “When You Come to a Fork in the Road, TAKE IT!”.