Yogi Berra passes away at age 90
The baseball world received some very sad news early Wednesday morning when former Met player, coach and manager Yogi Berra passed away of natural causes at the age of 90.
Aside from his storied career as the star catcher of the New York Yankees from 1946-1962, during which he won ten World Series titles, three MVP awards was a 15-time All-Star in his big league career, and a Hall of Fame induction in 1972, Berra served as a player/coach for the Mets in 1965, although he took his last at-bat in early May that season.
He then became a full-time member of the coaching staff following the 1965 season through the 1971 season, after which he was hired as the Mets manager following the untimely death of Gil Hodges before the 1972 season.
‘Yogi Berra was a baseball legend who played a key part in our history,” the Mets said in a statement on Wednesday. “He was kind, compassionate and always found a way to make people laugh. With us he was a player, coach and managed the 1973 ‘Ya Gotta Believe’ team to the National League pennant. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
He helped rally the Mets from last place to a National League East title with an 82-79 record in 1973, guiding the Mets to the World Series and pushing them to the brink of their second championship in four years after taking a 3-2 series lead over the A’s before losing the final two games in Oakland.
“It aint over til it’s over,” Berra said that summer.
Berra was relieved of his managerial duties in August, 1975, when he returned to the Yankees as a coach.
He went 298-302 as the club’s manager from 1972-1975.
“Yogi Berra was a beacon of Americana, and today Major League Baseball and all of its Clubs stand together in mourning his passing and celebrating his memory,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “On behalf of the game he served with excellence and dignity, I extend my deepest condolences to Yogi’s children and grandchildren, his many friends throughout our game and his countless admirers.”
He would go on to serve as a coach for the Astros beginning in 1985 after a controversial conclusion to his tenure as coach and manager of the Yankees. He was manager Hal Lanier’s bench coach on Houston’s 1986 National League West team in which they were opposed by the Mets.
“Yogi Berra’s legacy transcends baseball. Though slight in stature, he was a giant in the most significant of ways through his service to his country, compassion for others and genuine enthusiasm for the game he loved. He has always been a role model and hero that America could look up to,” Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. “While his baseball wit and wisdom brought out the best in generations of Yankees, his imprint in society stretches far beyond the walls of Yankee Stadium. He simply had a way of reaching and relating to people that was unmatched. That’s what made him such a national treasure.
“On behalf of my family and the entire Yankees organization, we extend our deepest condolences to Yogi’s family, friends and loved ones.”
Today marks the 69th anniversary of Berra’s big league debut with the Yankees.
Here are statements from various baseball personalities on the passing of Berra:
“They threw away the mold in regards to Yogi. He was one of a kind. He loved the game. As a manager, he never tried to complicate things. He let his players play. He respected what you did on the field. He was an utter delight to be around.”
“He was a true gentleman. As a manager he was very, very reassuring. When things were bad, he always stayed positive.”
“He did so much good for so many people in this world. Every time I think of Yogi I have a smile on my face. That’s the effect he had on people.”
“Yogi was a fun-loving guy who never had an enemy in the world. I dressed next to him for 10 years when I was with the Mets. He was on one side and Joe Torre was on the other. He was a special man.”
“We’ve lost Yogi, but we will always have what he left for us: the memories of a lifetime filled with greatness, humility, integrity and a whole bunch of smiles. He was a lovable friend.”
JEFF IDELSON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME
“The Hall of Fame mourns the loss of a baseball legend, great American, tremendous family man and modern day philosopher. His baseball abilities and acumen are evidenced by his Hall of Fame election in 1972 and as the only manager in history to take both the Yankees and Mets to the World Series. He joined the Navy at 18, was married to his beloved wife Carmen for 65 years, and had more fun with the English language than any player in history. He will especially be missed in Cooperstown where he was beloved by his fellow Hall of Famers and his adoring fans.”
JANE FORBES CLARK, CHAIRMAN, BASEBALL HALL OF FAME
“Yogi Berra was an American icon, whose impact on baseball and everyday American culture was enormous. Yogi connected with every baseball fan, as a 10-time World Series winner with the New York Yankees, as one of the world’s most notable personalities, and as one of baseball’s most beloved Hall of Fame members. His contributions to our game and to our country will never be forgotten. The National Baseball Hall of Fame sends its sympathies to his family and to every baseball fan who adored him.”