Lawrence Peter Berra
Yogi Berra gave the Yankees a weapon that no other American League team had - a great offensive catcher. His was a position that other teams carried as an offensive black hole - as a result, he gave the Yankees a tremendous bonus.
Berra led AL catchers in home runs and RBIs in each of nine straight seasons (1949-1957), and he did so by wide margins. His totals for those years were 235 HR and 929 RBI. The totals for each season's runner-up - that is, a composite of the second-highest ranked catcher in each category that year - were 131 HR and 578 RBIs. One more thing: he led AL catchers in batting average four times in those nine seasons.
Berra played on 14 pennant winners and 10 World Champions - and played in 75 World Series games, a record that is as close to unbreakable as exists in professional baseball. Tutored by his Yankee predecessor, Bill Dickey, Berra became a polished receiver. He set the career home run record for American League catchers and topped the 100-RBI mark four years in a row.
He was a three-time American League MVP (only
DiMaggio, Foxx and
Mantle can make that claim), and was selected to play in 15
successive All-Star games. He managed the Yankees and Mets to pennants in 1964
and 1973, respectively.
"It ain't over 'til it's over."
"The future ain't what it used to be."
"I didn't really say everything I said."
- Yogi Berra
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