THE HALL OF FAME CATCHER IS THE GREATEST WINNER IN BASEBALL HISTORY AND ONE OF ITS MOST BELOVED ICONS, YET HE REMAINS MOST RENOWNED FOR HIS YOGI-ISMS, THOSE PITHY SAYINGS THAT HE PROBABLY NEVER SAID
YOGI BERRA WILL BE A LIVING LEGEND EVEN AFTER HE'S GONE
No man in the history of American sports—perhaps even in the history of America—has spent a lifetime facing more expectant silences. And it is happening again. Another afternoon. Another silence. Strangers stand at a respectful distance and wait for Lawrence Peter Berra to say something funny and still wise, pithy but quirkily profound, obvious and yet strangely esoteric. A Yogi-ism.
It ain't over till it's over.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
You can observe a lot by watching.
In this case the strangers waiting in the silence are a mother and son. They had been touring the Yogi Berra Museum in Little Falls, N.J., in anticipation of having the boy's bar mitzvah here. The family had decided that there is no better place for a boy to become a man than in the museum of the greatest winner in the history of baseball. And when they got word that the legend himself was present, they had to meet him, of course. They found him here, in the museum office, looking for a glass of water.
"I cannot believe it's really you!" the woman says to Yogi Berra.
"It's really me," he says.
The woman pauses for a moment. Is that it? Is that the Yogi-ism? What did he mean by "really me"? Was he being existential? Could he be summoning Delphic wisdom from the temple of Apollo, that phrase which translates loosely as "Know thyself"? It's hard to tell. Yogi Berra is looking for water so he can take his medication. He is supposed to take it in about 45 minutes. He's getting nervous about it. Berra hates being late for anything.