“I really didn’t say everything I said. You better cut the pizza into four pieces; I’m not hungry enough to eat six. It’s déjà vu all over again.”
I’m Mark Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and Jon Pessah has written a wonderful biography of an American original that every baseball fan should read, Yogi: A Life Behind The Mask.
Lawrence Peter Berra was born on The Hill in St Louis, Missouri, to Italian immigrants. The reader is given great insight as to what it was like to grow up a poor immigrant during the depression. All Lawdie—as his mother called him—wanted to do was play baseball. His parents were firmly against it and it took several attempts by Lawdie to gain their permission.
Pessah recounts how Yogi was sidetracked into the US Navy and his service under fire on D-day. Passed over by the St Louis Cardinals as “not being good enough for the major leagues” he eventually signed with the New York Yankees beginning a career that would make him a baseball legend.
During his sixty years in baseball, Yogi’s life and baseball career intersected with some of the greatest names in baseball: Joe DiMaggio, Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel, Ted Williams. Pessah includes baseball stories from across the decades to satisfy even the most hardcore baseball fan. More than just a legend, Yogi Berra had a positive impact on many people both on and off the baseball field.
I must confess as I read Pessah’s book Yogi, I laughed and cried out loud as I read about a man who not only changed baseball but impacted the English language with Yogisms. It’s only appropriate I finish with one his most well-known. “It’s not over till it’s over.”