Ron Agostini

Ron Agostini: Berra authored more than Yogisms

Reading time, two minutes:

▪ The late Yogi Berra, besides being the most successful catcher in baseball history, became a cultural touchstone. How? By being Yogi Berra, and he didn’t need a single marketing expert.

▪ He looked like the clubhouse janitor but played like Paul Bunyan.

▪ There are the 10 World Series titles, 14 pennants, three MVPs, All-Star status for 15 years, 358 home runs (only three fewer than Joe DiMaggio) and 1,430 RBIs. The numbers alone make him immortal.

▪ But here is the point that elevates him even higher than his résumé and all those Yogisms: Berra was the first ballplayer to hire an agent.

▪ Berra changed the game, and not just by saying, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

▪ He was more than the guy in the barber’s chair confounding the Aflac duck: “And they give you cash, which is just as good as money.”

▪ His impact was larger than the ballplayer who inspired the Yogi Bear cartoons or pushed Yoo-hoo chocolate drinks.

▪ The man also did commercials for Miller Lite, Pringles and Visa. Berra was cash.

▪ Baseball-wise, Berra was a notorious bad-ball hitter. But again with him, there’s more. He was Pablo Sandoval times 10.

▪ Remarkable: In 1950, while Berra hit 28 home runs, drove in 124 runs and batted .322, he struck out only 12 times in 597 at-bats.

▪ Remarkable, Part II: He played 148 straight games without an error.

▪ Remarkable, Part III: He struck out only 414 times in over 8,300 career plate appearances. Reggie Jackson K’d more times over three seasons.

▪ Remarkable, Part IV: He ended his 15-year feud with the Yankees when they honored him in 1999, the day David Cone threw a perfect game.

▪ Remarkable, Part V: In 1962, at age 37, Berra caught all 22 innings of a seven-hour game.

▪ Just because: Ryan Theriot.

▪ The Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor is no dim bulb. He ended his holdout by dodging the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. He’ll break in with Chicago (0-2) and Detroit (0-2).

▪ A reminder about Suzann Pettersen’s refusal to concede a short putt, which ignited an American comeback in the Solheim Cup: She could have cleared up all the confusion by simply changing her mind. A chance at honor missed.

▪ Pettersen’s apology the next day seemed genuine but far too late ... for the European team.

▪ Mike Dowd, the head pro at Oakdale Country Club, is an author. “Lessons From The Golf Guru: Wit, Wisdom, Mind-Tricks and Mysticism For Golf And Life” was launched this week on Amazon.com.

▪ Tangible progress by the Raiders’ Derek Carr: He completed 6 of 8 passes against the blitz last week against the Ravens.

▪ Coming soon to ESPN, the NFL Network and every TV-smartphone-laptop-tablet: Breathless updates each hour on Tony Romo’s rehab.

▪ The 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick (Pitman High School) said, “I would say the biggest thing is I’m being asked to be myself this year.” Translation: More Nevada-like pistol offense by the 49ers.

▪ The 49ers validated the degree of that offseason fallout at Pittsburgh. You can’t lose that many important players and coaches without consequences.

▪ Why the Giants soon will be eliminated: Down a run in the ninth inning this week with runners at second and third, the Giants sent to the plate Mac Williamson (first career at-bat), Kelby Tomlinson and Trevor Brown.

▪ Lane Kiffin, the subject of ugly rumors, out-trended Pope Francis’ visit. Hell hath no fury like Alabama losing a game in September.

▪ About Jackie Robinson’s famous steal of home in the 1955 World Series: Berra was right all along. Robinson was out.

▪ Check out the game photos, including the one Berra handed to President Barack Obama signed thus: “Dr. Mr. President, he was out.”

▪ Berra died 69 years to the day of his major-league debut in 1946.

▪ Perhaps the greatest one-word description of Berra was coined by his lifelong friend Joe Garagiola: “Underrated.”

▪ Finally, when Berra came to a fork in the road, he took it. And baseball never will be the same.

  Comments