A Baseball Incident to Remember: Yogi Berra

I am not necessarily a strong believer in fate, but I have to admit that every so often there is an event that makes me wonder if the universe has not conspired to bring all the factors into alignment at a given moment.

Yogi Berra at age 90
picture courtesy of https://www.ksdk.com/

I grew up in NYC and like many, I was a NY Yankee fan. I saw many ball games at Yankee Stadium during those halcyon years. Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra were among my heroes.

I just finished reading a book that I can recommend for anyone who loves baseball, the NY Yankees or Yogi Berra. My Dad Yogi by Dale Berra is entertaining and insightful. The focus is on Yogi Berra; a talented ball player and all around excellent human being. There are other family stories as well and fans will be more than happy with the book.

There is one incident in the book, however which I found fascinating. Here is a summary.

Background Information – “George Steinbrenner fired Yogi after just 16 games of the 1985 season when he previously said that Yogi would have his job as manager all season. Yogi Berra, No. 8, said he would not come back to the Stadium as long as Steinbrenner ran the team. He has not come back. He said yesterday he would not be at the first game of this Series, any of the games. The Series thus misses an honored guest. [ed]”

You can read more about the incident HERE

Yogi did not return to Yankee Stadium or have anything to do with the team for the next 14 years. He felt that Steinbrenner owed him an apology and would not consider being part of Yankee baseball until he received one.

Joe DiMaggio, on his death bed, convinced George Steinbrenner to make up with Yogi. When the Yogi Berra Museum was opened, Steinbrenner took the opportunity to mend fences and Yogi Berra agreed!

Now for the unbelievable “coincidence” (Based on the book by Dale Berra)…

  • On July 18,1999 – Yogi Berra Day – A Ferry named the Yogi Berra was re-routed from Weehawken NJ to NYC – to the Harlem River to make it easy to get to Yankee Stadium.
  • Joe Torres was Yankee Manager.
  • Don Larson (the only pitcher to throw a perfect game in a World Series – 1956), threw out the first pitch that day to Yogi Berra who was the catcher during that perfect game!
  • When Joe Torres was 16, he managed to get a ticket to watch Don Larson pitch his perfect game to Yogi during game 5 in the 1956 World Series.
  • Unbelievably, David Cone pitched a perfect game on this very special day AND to top it off, it was Joe Torre’s birthday.

David Cone's perfect game
picture courtesy of https://www.forbes.com/

As NY Yankee announcer Mel Allen might have said: “How about that!?”