A three-time AL MVP, 10-time World Series champion and 18-time All-Star, Yogi Berra was one of precious few that achieved legend status while he was still living.
Adored by Yankee fans young and old, Berra’s exceptional life experience earned him affection from countless others, even if they despised the Bronx Bombers. A St. Louis native of Italian descent, Berra was raised Roman Catholic, stood a diminutive 5’7” and served with the U.S. Navy in World War II. His blue-collar work ethic also garnered respect, as he played more than 100 games in 14 straight seasons.
A 1972 Hall of Fame inductee, Berra was also named to The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players (1998) and the 1999 MLB All-Century Team.
“He knew baseball as well as anyone and he watched all of our games, but he didn’t like to overanalyze things,” wrote Derek Jeter in a Players Tribune article. “He loved simplicity. I think that’s why he often spoke in short sentences that were full of meaning. With Yogi, less was truly more.”
69 years to the day of his big league debut, Yogi passed away, but his words- affectionately known as ‘Yogisms’- are truly immortal. As with any of baseball’s best stories, the exact details are up for debate, but Berra was credited with a multitude of noteworthy quotes full of creativity, simplicity and charm- just like Yogi himself.
Here are just a few gems from the most quotable athlete in the history of sports:
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
“Take it with a grin of salt.”
“It gets late early out here.”
“It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
“It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.”
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
“All pitchers are liars or crybabies.”
“Never answer an anonymous letter.”
“In baseball, you don’t know nothing.”
“We made too many wrong mistakes.”
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
“You can observe a lot by just watching.”
“Bill Dickey is learning me his experience.”
“How can you think and hit at the same time?”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”
“Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel.”
“Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
“I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.”
“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
“If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.”
“Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets.”
“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.”
“I don’t know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.”
“I’m a lucky guy and I’m happy to be with the Yankees. And I want to thank everyone for making [Yogi Berra Day] necessary.”
“I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?”
“I never said most of the things I said.”