The Era Of Yogi Berra
Last Tuesday will forever be labeled an extremely somber day in the world of baseball. September 22nd marked the end of an era with the passing of baseball great Yogi Berra. Berra passed away peacefully at the age of 90.
Yogi Berra was a polarizing figure in his time. Both as a player and skipper, Berra was a baseball genius who helped usher in the thrilling style of Major League Baseball that we enjoy today. Berra played with a determined style vastly unmatched by the rest of the majors making him one of the more exciting players to watch.
In his 19 Major League seasons as a player, Yogi Berra transcended the game of baseball with his outstanding skill cultivating 15 all-star years, 14 World Series, and 10 World Series championships. He was one of the greatest catchers to have ever played the game and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone else with those numbers for many years to come.
Berra became a legend in baseball at a time which seemed next to impossible considering the company he was with as a member of the most decorated team in baseball history, the New York Yankees. While Berra doesn't have the slash line of DiMaggio, Mantle, or Gehrig, his accomplishments undoubtedly put him in the top ten Yankee players of all time. That's not even considering where he would rank in all of Major League Baseball.
Think I'm crazy on this one? Well I invite you to think again. Taking a look at the top ten Yankee players of all time I think it would be crazy not to put Berra in that bunch. Berra was a menace to each and every pitcher he faced because he used his skill and mind. Yogi had plate discipline that was way beyond his years and used that to his advantage. Out of his entire career of 8,359 plate appearances, Berra only struck out 414 times! He had more home runs than strike outs six times during his storied career. In 1950 Berra belted 28 homers while only striking out 12 times in 656 plate appearances. That's a weeks’ worth for Chris Davis. You'd be lucky to find ten other Yankees who have those numbers.
If you look up the phrase "clutch when it counts" in the baseball history books you would most likely find Yogi Berra's name at the top. In the Fall Classic alone Berra posted a slash line of .274/.359/.452 and only trailed Mantle and Ruth in World Series home runs. His 1430 RBI's and 359 home runs tops Derek Jeter, Dave Winfield, and even current Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly.
Regardless of where you rank him among Yankee greats or Major League Baseball, Yogi Berra's legendary career will always rank among the best. He was not only a successful player, he was a successful coach. Yogi was known for his positive attitude and great sense of humor. The only real downfall to Berra isn't really a downfall at all. His attitude and style combined with the company of his time often overshadowed his own success. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising to find an entire website dedicated to Yogi Berra quotes and phrases.
Baseball sure has lost a great one in Yogi Berra, but that doesn't mean the legacy he left behind won't live on. Berra helped usher in the wonderful sport of baseball to the competitively thrilling sport it is today. For that, all of baseball will be forever grateful.