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If you like Yogi Berra's story, you might also like:
Hank Aaron,
Julius Erving,
Peyton Manning,
Willie Mays,
Pete Rozelle,
Bill Russell and
John Wooden

Related Links:
Yogi Berra - Official Website

Yogi Berra Museum

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Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra
Profile of Yogi Berra Biography of Yogi Berra Interview with Yogi Berra Yogi Berra Photo Gallery

Yogi Berra Interview (page: 4 / 6)

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  Yogi Berra

When you went to the Yankees, the Yankees had a lot of good Italian American ballplayers. Was that special for you, to be with DiMaggio, and Crosetti?

Yogi Berra Interview Photo
Yogi Berra: You had Rizutto. It was always good to see them. These guys are stars. DiMaggio, I played five years with him. Phil, about seven. Crosetti, he was a coach. He was in more World Series than I was, as a coach and a player. He was in, I think, 23. I've been in 21 of them.

Yes, but nobody's won more than you have.

Yogi Berra: No.

When you were a kid on the Hill, could you imagine that you would make that journey to Yankee Stadium? To the Hall of Fame? To ten World Series championships?

Yogi Berra: No. Once you start playing though, we felt like we were going to win. We really did. We used to hold our own meetings, the ballplayers. You know, "There's something wrong here. Hey, let's get going. Time's getting late." Like Charlie Silvera, the backup catcher, he'd come in, he'd say, "C'mon, guys. I need a new wing on my house. Let's go." You know, the first World Series, we got $5,000. That's my first salary, was $5,000. And we got five. We got the biggest when we played the Giants in '51. We got about $10,000... $11,000. Bigger ballpark. We'd vote for the Giants, so we could get more money.

How do you handle the pressure of playing in front of all those people, and millions more on television?

Yogi Berra Interview Photo
Yogi Berra: It didn't bother me. That didn't bother me. The only guy you watch is that guy pitching.

You're not even worried about letting down your teammates?

Yogi Berra: If I don't get a hit. But I always watch the pitcher. That's who I watch all the time. And the fans, you hear booing or something, don't even bother me. I play a lot of golf. You could talk, that don't bother me if I'm hitting a golf ball.

What about handling criticism? Athletes are subjected to criticism on the sports page every day. How do you handle that?

Yogi Berra: Pretty good, I guess. You get more criticism when you're a manager than when you're playing. In fact, I had one writer come in one time, the ball got away from the catcher, and he comes in and says, "Geez, what happened?" I said, "Didn't you see the game? What happened? It got away from the catcher." That builds you up a little bit.

Did you read the sports page every day?

Yogi Berra: Yes. Yes, I liked to read it. I liked to see the teams who were playing. We were riding on the train, you get the paper. If we're going into Cleveland, we'd watch if one guy who was hitting good, and I felt that if a guy was pitching the day we get in, "This guy's hot, we got to be careful with him." You know.

Did you ever feel that you were treated unfairly? What about umpires?

Yogi Berra: Once in a while. I think I only got thrown out twice in all the years I played. Managing, I got knocked off twice.

Did you deserve it?

Yogi Berra: No, I didn't deserve it.

When Jackie Robinson was out, that's one time I argued real mad. I had lot of fun. A story - I might say that tonight, you know - if people want to hear a little story from when Whitey Ford threw four pitches, four runs. You ever heard of that story? Playing the White Sox? Nellie Fox lead off, no he batted second. [Luis] Aparicio got on. He got a base hit. Nellie Fox got a base hit. The next guy hit. The next guy hit a home run. And Casey [Stengel] came out to me and said, "Has Whitey got anything?" I said, "What the hell do I know? I haven't caught one yet!" We did a lot of stuff. We had a lot of fun, I'll tell you. One time, Mickey called a game in Boston. He wanted to call the game. I said, "You want to call the game?" Whitey was pitching. And Whitey said, "Okay, let him call the game. See what happens." And we had a sign, when Mickey bent down it was a fast ball. If he stood straight up, it was a curve ball. And if he'd shake his glove, it was a change-up. And, we went for seven innings like that. We were winning two-to-nothing. So, we come in after the eighth inning and he says, "You're doing pretty good, Mick." And he said, "I quit. You take over now. I'm finished."

Did the manager know you were doing that?

Yogi Berra: No. No, he didn't.

Playing a game like baseball, do you have to have fun? Do you have to enjoy it?

Yogi Berra Interview Photo
Yogi Berra: I think so. Yeah. You've got to have fun. You know, we played the Dodgers in a lot of World Series. We thought we were enemies. We weren't. When we're on the field we are, but off the field we weren't. Because I went barnstorming with Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider and all them guys. And we had fun. But once the games start, you know, you're on your own. But after the game, real good chatter and everything. I liked to talk to the hitters. I just liked to talk to the hitters. But not when the ball was on the way. I'd just say, like: "Where you going tonight?" "What are you doing in the wintertime?" Just to keep a conversation going.

Did you ever give a batter a hard time before the pitch?

Yogi Berra: No. Sometimes I'd get him mad, I threw dirt on his shoes a little bit once in awhile.

Did it help?

Yogi Berra: No. Like [Larry] Doby, a very good friend of mine, he'd tell me, "Shut up. Don't talk to me when I'm hitting." Ted Williams used to say, "You old dago, you're twisted up." I'd say, "When you going fishing this year, Ted?" And he didn't like to talk. He'd talk to you after. But he was a nice guy, too. We did a lot of things with him. My son went to his baseball school, even.

Yogi Berra Interview Photo

What do you talk about with umpires? Did you talk to umpires when you were catching?

Yogi Berra: Yeah. I said sometimes, "That ball was pretty close, wasn't it?" and all that. Yeah. You talk to the umpires. They don't like for you to turn around. That's the only thing. You look straight ahead, don't do nothing. There's one story I could tell you about Cal Hubbard. We were playing a game in Boston. We were way ahead. And, I wanted to get out of the game. It was hot. And, I said, "Well, you missed that damn ball. You missed that, Cal. What's the matter with you? You having a bad day back there?" and everything, you know. And he said, "Yogi, you could call me anything you want. If I'm going to suffer, you're going to suffer with me."

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This page last revised on Apr 28, 2008 09:12 EDT
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