Yogi Berra is regarded as one of the the greatest catchers in baseball history. The 18-time All Star earned ten World Series rings as a player.
Berra enjoyed quite a run from 1950-1956. Each of those seven seasons he finished in the top three in MVP voting, winning the award three times. The Yankees appeared in the World Series every year, winning it each season except 1955.
In the collection is this letter from Berra regarding a 1953 endorsement deal. Cigarettes were all the rage in 50’s and Chesterfield was the brand of choice for much of baseball including Yankee catcher Berra.
In this letter Berra writes, “Enclosed please find the two agreements for the Chesterfield contract. In reply to your note, I do smoke and my brand is Chesterfield.”
At the bottom the Yankee catcher has signed his more legal name, “Larry Berra” in favor of his nickname “Yogi”.
Oh, how I loved watching many of these Yankee greats on Saturday afternoon “Baseball Game of the Week”. Every Saturday in the mid to late 1950’s and the early years of the ’60’s watching a Saturday afternoon baseball game that was almost always a “Yankees” game. Announcers for many of those games were PeeWee Reese and Dizzy Dean!! What a treat for a young kid in South Central Texas, Mom would make a hamburger for me and my Dad and we would sit there and watch those games every Saturday. Thanks for the memories guys!!
My dad was a Red Sox fan, and I was a Red Sox fan, but we both thought Yogi was one of the best MLB ballplayers ever. And a great guy as well.
Somewhere there’s a photo of Ted Williams cracking up about something that Yogi said that caused Ted to loose it as he backed away from the plate with his bat in hand.
I’d love to know what Yogi said to Ted that day.
I also would watch the Yankees on Saturday afternoon. Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Clete Boyer and Tommy John. I loved the Yankees then and was always fun watching them.
One story missing was :
Yogi and the Yankees were staying in a hotel on a road trip. It was in the middle of a heat wave and as Yogi and a few other players were heading out to dinner, Yogi, who was wearing a crisp cotton shirt and slack was approched by a woman who said to yogi, boy, you look nice and cool, and Yogi said, thanks lady, you dont look too hot yourself.
Birdie Tebbetts once asked Casey Stengel what he thought was the main reason for Casey’s success. Stengel replied, “I never play a game without my man.” The Ol’ Perfessor was referring to Yogi. Sometimes at Catcher, other times in LF or First Base.