Yogi Berra

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Yogi Berra : biography

May 12, 1925 –

Personal life

Berra married his wife Carmen on January 26, 1949. They have three children and currently live in Montclair, New Jersey. Two of Berra’s sons also played professional sports. His son Dale Berra played shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros, and his son Tim Berra played pro football for the Baltimore Colts in 1974.

Honors

In 1972, Berra was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The No. 8 was retired in 1972 by the Yankees, jointly honoring Berra and Bill Dickey, his predecessor as the Yankees’ star catcher.

On August 22, 1988, Berra and Dickey were honored with plaques to be hung in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. Berra’s plaque calls him "A legendary Yankee" and cites his most frequent quote, "It ain’t over till it’s over." However, the honor was not enough to shake Berra’s conviction that Steinbrenner had broken their personal agreement; Berra did not set foot in the Stadium for another decade, until Steinbrenner publicly apologized to Berra.

In 1996, Berra received an honorary doctorate from Montclair State University, which also named its own campus Yogi Berra Stadium, opened in 1998, in his honor.

In 1999, Berra appeared at No. 40 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and fan balloting elected him to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. At the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, Berra had the honor of being the last of the 49 Hall of Famers in attendance to be announced. The hometown favorite received the loudest standing ovation of the group.

On July 18, 1999, Berra was honored with "Yogi Berra Day" at Yankee Stadium. Don Larsen threw the first pitch to Berra, to honor the perfect game from the 1956 World Series. This was a part of the celebration to mark the return of Berra to the Stadium, which ended his 14-year feud with Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner. The feud started in 1985 when Steinbrenner promised Berra an honest chance as manager, then fired him in the third week of the season. Berra vowed to never return to Yankee Stadium so long as Steinbrenner owned the team. On that day, Yankees pitcher David Cone threw a perfect game against the Montreal Expos, only the 16th time it had ever been done in Major League history.

In 2008, Berra was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center and Yogi Berra Stadium

In 1998, the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center and Yogi Berra Stadium (home of the New Jersey Jackals and Montclair State University baseball teams) opened on the campus of Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. The museum is the home of various artifacts, including the mitt with which Yogi caught the only perfect game in World Series history, several autographed and "game-used" items, and nine of Yogi’s championship rings. (Berra only wears the 1953 ring, in commemoration of the Yankees’ record 5th consecutive World Championship.) It was an appearance on behalf of the museum by George Steinbrenner that led to their ultimate reconciliation. Yogi Berra was given the 1951 Yankee World Series banner.

Berra is very involved with the project, and he frequently visits the museum for signings, discussions, and other events. It is his intention to teach children important values such as sportsmanship and dedication, both on and off the baseball diamond.Posnanski, Joe, "Yogi Berra Will Be A Living Legend Even After He’s Gone", Sports Illustrated, 4 July 2011, pp. 64–68.

Early life

Lawrence Peter Berra was born in a primarily Italian neighborhood of St. Louis called "The Hill", to Italian immigrants Pietro and Paolina (née Longoni) Berra. Pietro, originally from Milan in northern Italy, arrived at Ellis Island on October 18, 1909, at the age of 23. In a 2005 interview for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Yogi said, "My father came over first. He came from the old country. And he didn’t know what baseball was. He was ready to go to work. And then I had three other brothers and a sister. My brother and my mother came over later on. My two oldest brothers, they were born there—Mike and Tony. John and I and my sister Josie were born in St. Louis." Yogi’s parents originally nicknamed him "Lawdie", derived from his mother’s difficulty pronouncing "Lawrence" or "Larry" correctly. He grew up on Elizabeth Avenue, across the street from boyhood friend and later competitor Joe Garagiola; that block, also home to Jack Buck early in his Cardinals broadcasting career, was later renamed "Hall of Fame Place". Berra is a Roman Catholic, and he attended South Side Catholic, now called St. Mary’s High School, in south St. Louis with Garagiola. Berra has been inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

He began playing baseball in local American Legion leagues, where he learned the basics of catching while playing outfield and infield positions as well. Berra also played for a Cranston, Rhode Island team under an assumed name.http://www.italianamericanwriter.com/?tag=yogi-berra While playing in American Legion baseball, he received his famous nickname from his friend Bobby Hofman who said he resembled a Hindu yogi whenever he sat around with arms and legs crossed waiting to bat or while looking sad after a losing game.