MONTCLAIR, NJ – Only a select few transcend their sports. There are only a handful of people who need no introduction or, for that matter, a surname to identify them.
Lawrence Peter Berra earned the name Yogi from his friend Jack Maguire, who after watching a Hindu movie, stated that Berra looked like a “Yogi.” Well, the name stuck and was an appropriate one for the squat, five foot seven baseball icon.
Yogi was a strong accomplished batter with a 19-year average of .285 and 358 career homers, 10 World Series rings and 3-time MVP… to name a few.
His greatest accomplishments were off the diamond, where this St.Louis son of Italian immigrants, captured the hearts of baseball fans, like myself, regardless of what team they favored. Generations of fathers and sons would enjoy the many Yogi-isms such as: “It ain’t over to its over” and my favorite, “Always go to other people’s funerals otherwise they won’t go to yours.”
Off the field, Berra was a marketing brand of his own, endorsing products such as Yoo-Hoo, and owning and investing in many businesses, while giving back through his philanthropy.
In 1999, after years away from Yankee Stadium do to his firing by George Steinbrenner fourteen years earlier, MTM favorite Suzyn Waldman, brought the two back together. The Yankees held a Yogi Berra Day. Berra caught the honorary first pitch from his old teammate Don Larsen, who had pitched a perfect game with Yogi behind the plate. With the number 8 etched on the field, David Cone hurled a Perfect Game on 88 pitches.
Yogi left us on the 69th Anniversary of his Major League debut. Fitting exit for this once-in-a-lifetime character. We should all raise a glass and toast this New York Sports legend.
Perhaps he can pull some strings from the dugout in the sky to help the Mets pull off another miracle!
A conversation with Bobby ” Chappie” Czyz is neither ordinary or boring. He says what’s on his mind and explains himself, in-depth, on a myriad of subjects.
The former Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight Champion of the World is no punch-drunk palooka. Despite dealing with the after effects of a near-death car accident a few years ago that resulted in burns, lung damage and days in a coma, Bobby Czyz is clear and concise. We spoke about boxing, football, baseball as well as religion, evolution and even some politics.
Czyz is one of the unique boxers of the modern era, a true Renaissance Man. In two weeks, I will roll out the offering that I had planned to use today.
Chime in with your favorite Yogi memories and come back tomorrow.