For legendary Yogi Berra, 90, it’s finally over

For legendary Yogi Berra, 90, it’s finally over
Yogi in 1956. (Image: NYT, Sam Falk)

[Ed. – RIP, shipmate.  Berra, in the Navy in WWII, participated in the Normandy invasion and was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries suffered in Operation Dragoon in the Mediterranean.  As Yogi would say, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”  Read Bruce Weber’s whole article — worth your time, promise.]

He was 90.

His death was reported by the Yankees and by the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J. Before moving to an assisted living facility in nearby West Caldwell, in 2012, Berra had lived for many years in neighboring Montclair. …

No other player has been a champion so often.

Lawrence Peter Berra was born on May 12, 1925, in the Italian enclave of St. Louis known as the Hill, which also fostered the baseball career of his boyhood friend Joe Garagiola. Berra was the fourth of five children. His father, Pietro, a construction worker and a bricklayer, and his mother, Paulina, were immigrants from Malvaglio, a northern Italian village near Milan. (As an adult, on a visit to his ancestral home, Berra took in a performance of “Tosca” at La Scala. “It was pretty good,” he said. “Even the music was nice.”) …

Berra’s professional baseball life began in Virginia in 1943 with the Norfolk Tars of the Class B Piedmont League. In 111 games he hit .253 and led the league’s catchers in errors, but he reportedly once had 12 hits and drove in 23 runs over two consecutive games. It was a promising start, but World War II put his career on hold. …

As a Yankee, Berra became a fan favorite, partly because of his superior play — he batted .305 and drove in 98 runs in 1948, his second full season — and partly because of his humility and guilelessness. In 1947, honored at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, a nervous Berra told the hometown crowd, “I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.”

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