?

Log in

entries friends calendar profile Metphistopheles Previous Previous Next Next
He Never Said All The Things He Said:( - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
He Never Said All The Things He Said:(
Tuesday night in the wee smalls, Lawrence Peter Berra, better known to four generations of baseball fans as Yogi, passed away at the age of 90. His entire playing career was in New York, and all but a handful of games came as a Yankee. All of those were before my time as a follower of the game.  I knew him more as a Met- coaching from 1965 through 1971, then thrust into the manager's role when Gil Hodges died of a heart attack on the eve of the 1972 season.  His next season's team coined the terms "Ya Gotta Believe" and the alleged Yogi-ism "it ain't over till it's over," and came from last place in August to within a game of winning the 1973 World Series.

By 1975, the Met magic had run out, and he returned to the Bronx for roughly 30 more years of a love-hate relationship with the owners of that Evil Empire.  By the time the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, he and the Steinbrenners had made nice-nice, and he threw out the inaugural first pitch there. But he was also on the field after the last game at Shea the previous fall, and was at the Mets' new ballpark in 2009 for a 40th anniversary reunion of their first-ever World Series winning team.  I was watching the final ceremonies from home on SNY, but was there in the outfield stands for that latter one.  Both of these appearances made me cry in a way that few things can ever do, for Yogi then was, and until two nights ago still was, the oldest living Met to have ever played for them (however briefly between coaching and managing gigs).

My post from that visit, my first to Citi Field, was on my Met blog here. It included a couple of Yogi pictures: first, as better seen from the Jumbotron, Tom Seaver greets him on the field at the moment they introduced him-



- and there he is, front row on the far right from our angle, joining the whole 40th anniversary team after it was assembled on the new field-




Yogi was connected much longer with the Yankee organization- it long ago retired his number 8 to Monument Park, and they put patches with that number on their uniforms starting last night. But in terms of length of service as a fraction of franchise life, the man's 11 active years in a Mets uniform, out of their now 54 campaigns, is virtually unmatched- and yet the team could muster no more last night than a pregame moment of silence.  The tone-deafness of this team's ownership is frightening sometimes.

Still, his face was much in evidence on placards and in social media references all through the game last night- a loss, but still helped by other events to get one step closer to the playoffs.  I'll end this recollection of him  with my first words about his death yesterday morning: a version of one of those many things he may, or may not, ever actually said which everybody thinks he did. I pictured these words to St. Peter on his arrival, all those rings on his fingers and his "tools of ignorance" (a/k/a his catching gear) from his face on down:

Nobody goes to heaven anymore. It's too crowded.

No matter. I promise there will be room for you, sir.
Leave a comment