Yogi. It’s hard not to smile when you hear his name. You might think of his goofy mug, with the crooked smile that looked as if it had been ripped from the funny pages. Then there’s the oddly-shaped wrestler’s body—squat torso, long arms—that inspired his first Yankees manager to call him “the Ape.” And of course then there were the malapropisms, some authentic, others invented by sportswriters, which he delivered in a monotone sprinkled with the flat A’s of his Midwestern roots.
If anyone didn’t like Yogi Berra, it could only have been someone who played on the teams he helped beat so relentlessly for 19 seasons. Then again, many of his opponents and their fans echoed the sentiments of my father, whose love for the Brooklyn Dodgers was matched only by his hatred of the Yankees: Once, when I asked him if he hated Yogi, Dad looked at me with incredulity. “How can you hate Yogi?”
As Mickey Mantle said, “He was the guy who made the Yankees almost seem human.”
Photo Via: N.Y. Times