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yogi berra, 1959 topps #180, yankees

Name: Berra, Yogi

Card: 1959 Topps #180

Position: Catcher

Yogi was known for his malapropisms as well as pithy and paradoxical statements, such as “It ain’t over ’til it’s over“, while speaking to reporters. He once simultaneously denied and confirmed his reputation by stating, “I really didn’t say everything I said“. However, to those who knew the game, his baseball IQ was off the charts. As Joe Garagiola once advised, “Listen to what he says, not how he says it.”

Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) (1946–1963, 1965), all but the last for the New York Yankees. He was an 18-time All-Star and won 10 World Series championships as a player—more than any other player in MLB history. He is one of only six players to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award three times. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

Berra’s father, Pietro, arrived in New York on October 18, 1909, at the age of 23. He had left Robecchetto, Italy, a town about 25 miles south of Milan, where he was a tenant farmer. Pietro left behind Paolina Lingori, a young girl whom he planned to marry after earning enough money to pay her way to the United States. Paolina Longoni (subsequently, Paulina) arrived on March 10, 1912, aged eighteen. Peter and Paulina married nine days later and settled in a largely Italian section of St. Louis called “The Hill.” He grew up on the same street as player/broadcaster Joe Garagiola.

Berra served in the United States Navy as a gunner’s mate in the Normandy landings during World War II, where he earned a Purple Heart. Berra appeared as a player, coach or manager in every one of the 13 World Series that New York baseball teams won from 1947 through 1981. Overall, he played or coached in 21 World Series, 13 on the winning side. Berra caught Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. He also holds the all-time record for shutouts caught, with 173. The Yankees retired his uniform number 8 in 1972.

Yogi was a champion and a cultural icon as noted in the video “8 minutes in remembrance of No. 8 Yogi Berra“. His contributions to the Sport have also gained him membership in the Baseball Reliquary Shrine of the Eternals.

Yogi also got a call out on Terry Cashman’s “Willie, Mickey and the Duke (Talkin’ Baseball)”

When asked why the Yankees seemingly won every year, he reportedly replied that “we led the league in Italians.”

Some Yogi Aphorisms:

  • “This is like déjà vu all over again.”
  • “It gets late early out there.”
  • “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
  • “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
  • “You can observe a lot by just watching.”
  • “When you get to a fork in the road, take it.” (Berra says this is part of driving directions to his house in Montclair, New Jersey. There is a fork in the road, and whichever way you take, you will get to his house)
  • “I knew the record would stand until it was broken.”
  • “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
  • “Even Napoleon had his Watergate.”
  • “It ain’t like football. You can’t make up no trick plays.”
  • “So I’m ugly. So what? I never saw anyone hit with his face.”
  • “I didn’t really say everything I said.”

(excerpted from SABR, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)

1954 Topps #50
1956 Topps #110
1957 Topps #2
1958 Topps #370
1961 Topps #425
1962 Topps #360
2012 Gypsy Queen #293
2013 Topps Allen & Ginter #327

Yogi is part of the Hall of Fame Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop


Yogi is also part of the MVP/Cy Young Tour – Go To The Next Stop


Yogi is also part of the Military Service during Wartime Tour – go to the Next Stop


Berra is part of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop


Yogi is also part of the MLB Managers Tour – Go to the Next Stop


Yogi is part of the All-Star Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop


Yogi is also part of the New York Yankee Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop


See Yogi’s baseball cards at TCDB

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