The latest edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations features athletes who dominate the competition.
Lawrence Peter Vera, a.k.a. Yogi, catcher of the New York Yankees, has nine aphorisms that may seem nonsensical at first, but reveal timeless wisdom when you think about it. .
“You can observe a lot by looking.”
“It was déjà vu again.”
And, of course, there’s “It ain’t over it’s over,” which provides the title for a new documentary about the life of a yogi.
“It’s not over” It aims to fix the caricatures instilled in Yogi’s cultural consciousness as an amiable clown. Not only was he a ration and a favorite of his teammates. According to the movie, he was one of the greatest baseball players of all time.
“This man was criminally overlooked every step of his life,” said filmmaker Sean Mullin.
The documentary, which opens Friday, is deeply personal, with the eldest of Yogi’s 11 grandchildren serving as the narrator without feigning objectivity as he fights for his grandfather’s legacy.
It was only a relatively recent few that encapsulated the movie’s defining thesis and produced the opening scene. I was honored. the greatest living legendLindsay Vera, who was watching that night with her grandfather, remembers being furious that Yogi wasn’t chosen.
In separate interviews, Mullin and Lindsay Berra emphasized that they didn’t hurt the four greats honored that night: Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax and Johnny Bench. They fervently believe that Yogi must have been the fifth man to walk the fields in Cincinnati that night.
“From the beginning, we wanted to metaphorically bring Grandpa back into documentary photography,” said Lindsay Vera, the film’s executive producer.
The filmmakers have assembled statistics and an impressive array of former players and other baseball professionals to back up their claims. As a player, he was a staple of 10 World Series championship teams. He won his three Most Valuable Player awards, appeared in his 15th consecutive All-Star game, and in 1956 achieved the only perfect his game in Worlds history in his series. Also, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi are the only two major leaguers in his league to hit 350 or more home runs and strike out less than 450.
The statistic that most impressed Lindsay Berra is from 1950. Yogi had 656 plate appearances that season, and he only struck out 12 times.
All this passionate lobbying is more than just a special family plea. Jon Pesser (not appearing in film), author of 2020 biography Yogi: The Life Behind the Mask, says the idea that Yogi’s baseball prowess has been overlooked is ‘100% true’ said.
In addition to his hitting feats, Yogi aspired to be a great defensive catcher and was adept at guiding capricious pitchers. (Don Larsen perfected his game in his series at the 1956 Worlds. During his game, he didn’t shake off one of his 97 pitches Yogi called.)
“After researching his career, I would say that this guy ran the Yankees in the 1950s,” Pesser said, a decade that bridged DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. “If you look at what he meant on the field and on the plate, he was a force.”
The unfair and incomplete perception of Yogi has a lot to do with his stocky stature and comparisons to famous teammates. Dimaggio was sleek and sophisticated, and he was married to Marilyn Monroe. Mantle was an All-American boy with blue eyes and golden hair from Oklahoma. Yogi — well, derogatory or derogatory descriptions didn’t seem off-limits to the writers who featured him. “Barrel” and likened his running style to “a fat girl in a tight skirt”. That was one sentence.
His first manager called him an ape. Articles in newspapers and magazines have compared the yogi’s appearance to that of gargoyles, gorillas, and orangutans.
“Can you imagine a reporter today writing that someone looks like a gorilla and is too ugly to be a Yankee?”
But Yogi was finally willing to joke, and did so only to test his character.
“I think he knew who he was in his heart,” said Mullin. “There was real confidence on a very basic level.”
Yogi, who grew up in St. Louis as the fourth child of Italian immigrants, dropped out of school in eighth grade to support his family, but he just wanted to play baseball. Always underrated, he eventually signed with the Yankees. He was drafted during World War II and rocket boat At Omaha Beach on D-Day.
Returning from the war, he played a year on the Yankees’ farm team before being called up late in the 1946 season. He was in the majors forever.
While proving naysayers wrong with his improved striking and defense, he also displayed a deep-rooted integrity. At a time when racism was still thriving in Major League Baseball despite Jackie Robinson’s consolidation of the game in 1947, Yogi paid tribute to Robinson and other black players. He later became very good friends with Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League.
But a fascinating life — he even had a storybook marriage to his hometown sweetheart, Carmen — doesn’t make for the most dramatic of films.
To add texture to the portrait, Marin examined both the yogi’s larger cultural significance and his personal pain.
Yogi became one of the first celebrity endorsers to market the chocolate milk drink Yoo Foo. graffiti fish oil, camel cigarette And then later in life you really lean into persona, mirror light and aflac insurance“He never resented the way he was seen, but he fully understood it made business sense,” Pesser said.
Yogi’s son Dale followed him into the majors, but a promising career was derailed by cocaine addiction. Rehabilitation was to no avail, and there was no encouragement from his family.
“Unless you decide to never do drugs again, you’re not my son anymore,” Dale Vera told his father.
Another deep scar in Yogi’s life was inflicted in 1985 by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Serving as Steinbrenner’s manager was clearly a risky proposition, and in his 16 games in Yogi’s second season, he was fired. It wasn’t the shooting that angered Yogi the most, it was Steinbrenner’s lack of the courage (or grace) to take the blow himself. Always keeping his word, Yogi vowed not to return to Yankee Stadium until Steinbrenner apologized.
It took nearly 14 years before a reconciliation was brokered and Yogi Bella Day was held at the stadium in July 1999. throw the first pitch.
Yogi didn’t have gloves, so he borrowed them from then-Yankees catcher Joe Girardi. David Cohn started throwing another perfect game for the Yankees.A life well lived had a magic coda.