This week we lost a legend. At the age of 90, baseball great, Yogi Berra died. Even those unfamiliar with the sport are usually aware of Berra’s contribution to the game as an incredible catcher with a larger than life personality. This Baseball Hall of Famer was such a character that it’s widely believed that he was the inspiration for the beloved children’s cartoon, Yogi Bear. Yogi Berra was legendary for both his skill and his personality. He played an incredible nineteen seasons in the Majors as member of the NY Yankees, (except for his final season). He holds an incredible record as an 18 time all star and played as a world series champion a remarkable ten times. As if these records weren’t enough to attest to Berra’s skill, he also won the League’s MVP award not once, not twice but three times. So it’s no surprise that he is considered one of the greatest catchers of all time.
An interesting fact about Yogi Berra, is that he was also an avid golfer. During his time as a major powerhouse in American baseball, there was much concern over the fact that Yogi spent so much time playing golf because many people believed that this would ruin his swing.
In spite of this dissent about his playing golf, Berra continued to play whenever he got the chance. Berra’s style of swinging the bat reflected his interest in golf. He was known for his ability to swing swing his bat as one would a golf club in order to hit lower pitches that hovered near the plate which often lead to serious home runs. However, Berra also maintained the ability to chop at pitches for beautiful line drives. Looking back, on Berra’s plays, it’s clear that his golf swing enhanced his game – it didn’t detract from it.
Yogi Berra claimed that his reasoning for picking up and staying with the sport of golf was solely to stay healthy. However, his record was a 10-handicap, so he wasn’t a bad golfer at all. Although he claimed that this was purely a chance for physical activity, it’s clear that he must have enjoyed the game and certainly developed skills for the game. Berra was known for taking extended vacations at high end golf courses like Pinehurst, and continued playing the sport throughout his career as a baseball player and eventual manager.
Berra was a true American athlete and legend, and his presence will be missed.