Never one to mince words, New York Yankee Yogi Berra is likely best remembered for his many quips - and after 90 years, the baseball giant had dozens of humorous malaprops. For an athlete of slight stature, Yogi Berra was a man who saw his abilities routinely underestimated.
Despite his alleged shortcomings, Berra was a three-time American League MVP; he appeared in 21 World Series as a player, coach, or manager; he was selected to 18 All-Star teams and won 13 World Series. Lawrence Peter Berra was known simply as Yogi, in much the same way as Babe Ruth could only be known as Babe, The New York Times said in Yogi's obituary.
Standing at about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, the legendary Yankees catcher was truly a giant, and he as beloved for his success on the field as he was for his wit. Yogi was a charming sort of player, and yet, he was indomitable in so many ways; fired twice as a manager by his beloved New York Yankees when the team failed - twice - to snag the World Series title. The second firing led Yogi to swear he would never return to Yankee Stadium, and it would be 14 years before he would set foot on Yankee home soil again.
Jack McGuire, a future teammate, gave Yogi his nickname after seeing a movie with a yogi as a character. He had remarked that his friend looked like the yogi from the movie, and the name stuck. It is also believed that the baseball great was the inspiration for the cartoon character Yogi Bear, according to CBS News. Whether that was because Yogi happened to be rather bearlike and solid in his build - in every facet except his height, that is - or because of the witticisms so often attributed to him was a significant contributor to the cartoon's humor, no one is exactly sure.
The current generation of New York Yankees is sporting a number 8 patch on their uniforms to honor Yogi and his legacy. Even US President Barack Obama tweeted his love of the Yankee legend.What may not be well known about the Yankee legend is that he embraced inclusivity long before it became trendy. Years ago, Yogi joined Athlete Ally, an organization devoted to eliminating homophobia and transphobia in professional sports, according to The Guardian. The Athlete Ally site sports a quote attributed to Yogi that says, "Respect the game, respect others – that's what I always learned in sports. Whatever background or whatever you are, it doesn't matter. Treat everybody the same, that's how it should be."
Yogi was an athlete who was loved by current and older generations alike, and the news of his death, while not necessarily shocking - Yogi was 90, after all - was sad for the millions who adored Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra. Whether Yogi was loved for the many quotes attributed to him or for his unbelievable ability behind the plate and at bat, it does not matter. Yogi was a man who lived by the philosophy of "It ain't over til it's over," and while the final curtain has finally fallen for the indomitable catcher-coach-manager, his legacy will be celebrated for as long as Little League players dream of making it to the Majors to play for the NY Yankees.
[Feature Image from Topps 1956 Baseball Card - Image of Greg Bird By Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images]