Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What would Yogi do?

When I ask what would Yogi do I do no mean Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (although that might be an interesting post for another day) & I don't mean Yogi Bear (we all know that one anyhow: flummox the ranger; steal the picnic basket).  I mean the oracle second only to Bullwinkle in my pantheon: Yogi Berra.

A quick cruise through the official Yogi Berra web page gave me a few insights into the man I did not have before.  I knew his name was Lawrence & would have guessed he already had a nickname, what I did not know was it was "Lawdie". There is no further explanation of the name "Lawdie", it really only comes up on the way to "Yogi", but I for one would like to know more.  Alas it is not to be.

Although he played baseball (& was signed by the Yankees as a  triple-A player) before World War II, he enlisted when the war came & like so many others, he was on Omaha Beach on D-Day.  I find if you picture Yogi Berra during the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan it is more bearable & somehow more awful.

After the war, Yogi returned to baseball & his first stop was not far from my original back door:  New London, CT.   It is here we get the first official Yogi Berra style story. The short version is the Giants wanted to buy his contract; the Yankees general manager did not have a clue who Yogi Berra was but if the Giants wanted his contract he wanted to keep him.  & so Yogi was discovered, again, by the Yankees on their own farm team.

The rest is easy to know.  Yogi Berra was a catcher-the short man's position.  It helps if you are already bow-legged.  & he could talk.  Man, could he talk.  Baseball does not have many points of contact between opposing teams, most of the game is played at an arms length or longer, but every batter has to deal with the other team's catcher.  The catcher has the first chance to confuse & maybe that's where it started.  Or maybe he was just a natural.  But few men can claim more famously confusing quotes than Yogi Berra.

I could at this point, list a bunch of Yogi-isms but as usual the Yankees have already done it better.  Damn Yankees.  As for the question what would Yogi do?  Well, whatever it is he is still doing it & probably talking  about it, at length & in a convoluted way. 

1 comment:

  1. I read an interview with Yogi's son. His Yogi-isms carried over into the home.