Whether celebrating the life of Yogi Berra has anything to do with ethics is debatable, I guess, but I feel ethically obligated to note his passing.
My father loved him: next to Ted Williams, who had the added enhancement of being a two war veteran and war hero, Yogi was Dad’s favorite athlete even though he hated the Yankees almost as much as I do. [ CORRECTION: I am reminded by reader John Condray that Yogi was also a war hero, “serving on the LCSS (dubbed “Landing Craft, Suicide Squad” by sailors since they operated in harm’s way). He was at D-Day & the Anvil landings in southern France – where he was grazed by a bullet from a Nazi machine gun.” I’m sure Dad knew that, and I should have.]
Berra was a unique and successful baseball player, a Hall of Fame catcher, and that rarity, a completely benign and welcome presence, always. A poor kid from a St.Louis Italian-American ghetto, he managed to project himself as a nice guy who was grateful to be able to make a living playing a kids game, and who never felt superior to anyone. He was an 8th grade drop-out, and always happy to play the fool, but those who knew him realized quickly that Yogi Berra was as witty and savvy as he was modest. If anyone didn’t like Lawrence Peter Berra, he or she never had the guts to say so in public. He really appears to be just as nice, honest and modest a man as he seemed to be.
Maybe that’s what Yogi Berra’s life has to do with ethics. He had a successful and long lasting marriage to his wife Carmen, successfully raised a family, was in public life for six decades without saying a mean word against anyone, entertained and thrilled millions of baseball fans, was the epitome of a professional, and left the world richer for his being in it.
You don’t get much more ethical than that.
You can read more about Berra here and here; his statistics are here. As you may know, Berra’s talent for coming up with funny quotes, many of which were deceptively wise and showed a deft sense of internal irony and word play, became as celebrated as his baseball achievements. Today those quotes are everywhere, including some that he may not have said. As Yogi did say once, “Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.”
Below are 25 of my personal favorites. Some of them make me laugh every time I read them.
What a great life. Continue reading