Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee

Overview

"Yogi Berra is America's most popular former athlete and the most quoted American since Mark Twain. The press saw him as part folk hero, part clown; his competitors knew him as the winningest player in the game's history." "In this revelatory biography, best-selling author Allen Barra presents Yogi's remarkable life and career as never seen before, from his childhood in St. Louis's "Dago Hill" to the greatest of baseball dynasties ever, to his clash and final peace with George Steinbrenner. As a boy, Yogi sold newspapers on street corners and
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Overview

"Yogi Berra is America's most popular former athlete and the most quoted American since Mark Twain. The press saw him as part folk hero, part clown; his competitors knew him as the winningest player in the game's history." "In this revelatory biography, best-selling author Allen Barra presents Yogi's remarkable life and career as never seen before, from his childhood in St. Louis's "Dago Hill" to the greatest of baseball dynasties ever, to his clash and final peace with George Steinbrenner. As a boy, Yogi sold newspapers on street corners and worked in a shoe factory before joining the Navy and earning a Purple Heart at Omaha Beach on D-Day. Mocked for his ungainly appearance and stocky build - "a body only an anthropologist could love," as one sportswriter crudely phrased it - Berra seemed to be the unlikeliest of Yankee prospects, dismissed by many as jester to Casey Stengel's court." "Passed over by the great Branch Rickey for a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals - for want of a mere $500 bonus - Yogi joined the Yankees in 1946 at a time the franchise seemed on the verge of decline. Finding himself a teammate of Joe DiMaggio, Tommy Henrich, and Phil Rizzuto, Yogi, with the aid of the great former Yankee catcher Bill Dickey, revived the team. By 1949 he was a superstar, the cornerstone of the 1949-1953 championship Yankees, the only team ever to win five consecutive World Series, He was also the most popular Yankee since Babe Ruth." "Think of the greatest moments in baseball during this glorious era and you think of Yogi Berra - his snag of a windblown pop-up in Allie Reynolds's second 1951 no-hitter, his leap into Don Larsen's arms after the only perfect game in World Serieshistory, and his two dramatic home runs off Don Newcombe in the finale of that amazing 1956 fall classic." "Allen Barra brings to life the salad days of the greatest team in baseball history - when Yogi, Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle, and Whitey Ford were household names, icons of baseball's real golden era." "After the 1963 season, Yogi embarked on a new career as a manager, winning pennants in both the American and National Leagues (with the Yankees in 1964 and the New York Mets in 1973, when he told the world, "It ain't over till it's over"). Returning to the Yankees as a coach and manager, he was fired just sixteen games into the 1985 season and promised he would never return as long as George Steinbrenner was owner, a vow he kept until George asked for forgiveness in 1999." Allen Barra's remarkable biography is an unforgettable portrait of a man, his family - particularly his partner in greatness, his wife, Carmen - and an exemplary baseball life. Drawn from hundreds of personal interviews, Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee - complete with a Yogi chronology, a dissection of classic Yogiisms. and a provocative statistics appendix conclusively proving that Yogi Berra was the greatest catcher of all time - is required reading for any fan of the game.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Ninety percent of this game is half mental." Hall of Fame catcher and manager Yogi Berra always had a way with words. This modest former New York Yankee also knew his way around the diamond: During his 19-year major league career, he was a 15-time All-Star, a ten-time World Series champion, and a three-time Most Valuable Player. As a manager, he won pennants for both the Yankees and their intercity rivals, the Mets. Yogi Berra: The Eternal Yankee celebrates this now octogenarian fan favorite with a lively, affectionate, illustrated biography that captures this amiable, self-deprecating diamond genius at his best.
Harry Levins - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Although Barra includes lots of play-by-play action in his book, he shows enough skill as a writer to prevent his book from becoming one big box score recast as simple declarative sentences. His game action stresses context and the development of Yogi as both a batter and a receiver.”
David M. Shribman - Bloomberg
“It has fallen to Allen Barra, one of the most erudite sportswriters in America...to tell the Yogi story in all its glory and nuance. In Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee, he walks the reader through contract squabbles, spring training, confrontations with the Red Sox, World Series victories and the sportswriters’ exaggerations that created the Yogi myth.”
Publishers Weekly

In the introduction to his latest effort, Barra (The Last Coach: A Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant ) says that one of his goals was to create the first comprehensive work written about Yogi Berra, the greatest ballplayer never to have had a serious biography. The result is not only comprehensive but also incredibly engaging, as Barra narrates the life of one of the most eccentric ballplayers of the 20th century. Starting with his modest Italian upbringing in St. Louis, Mo., Berra quickly took a liking to what his father called a bum's game. And after a short career in the navy, he parlayed his talents into one of the most decorated athletic careers in history, leading the New York Yankees to 10 World Series championships and winning three MVPs. Each of Berra's baseball highlights is meticulously described, as are his stints as a manager for both the Yankees and crosstown Mets, his relationships with men like Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle and George Steinbrenner, and his ability to create some of the most famous catchphrases of our time, Yogiisms, as they're called. Barra's love of the catcher with the similar name is evident throughout this deserving biography of Yogi. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

An accomplished sports biographer gives us one of the best recitations of an athlete's life and times since Paul J. Zingg's 1993 study of early baseball great Harry Hooper. Barra shows Yogi Berra as a signal example of immigrant success, an emblem of faith, family, and the rewards of determination. One of the best baseball books of the year, for all baseball fans, not just the ones who love pinstripes. For all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/08.]


—Margaret Heilbrun, Gilles Renaud
Kirkus Reviews
A full-scale biography of the most quoted and, possibly, the most underrated player in baseball history. From the 1950s cartoon that ripped off his name to the Aflac commercials of recent years, Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra has had an identity and impact outside the game greater than all but Ruth, Robinson and Gehrig. A Depression-era child of Italian immigrants, Berra grew up (along with Joe Garagiola, who as a player and broadcaster would do much to burnish Berra's folk-hero status) on "Dago Hill" in St. Louis with a strong set of values and a surprising certainty about his talent and worth as a player. His New York baseball career began in earnest after the war, and he quickly developed a reputation as a notorious bad-ball hitter and, eventually, a shrewd handler of pitchers. He only occasionally joined his hard-living Yankee teammates-Ford, Mantle, Martin-at Toots Shor's joint or the Copacabana, preferring instead to go to the movies or attend to a growing list of product endorsements. While there are plenty of stories here to prove that Berra's popular image is rooted in fact, Barra (The Last Coach: A Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant, 2005, etc.) reminds us how truly great a player Berra was-three-time American League MVP and ten-time World Series champion-and how smart a baseball man came disguised in his unlikely body. After his playing career, Berra coached and managed pennant-winning teams in each league. The play about him insists that Nobody Don't Like Yogi, and while that's not quite true-ask Willie Mays, Cleon Jones or Tom Seaver-for more than 60 years Berra has been a vital part of the game and a pop-culture icon. Now the worthy subject receives a serious biography that dignifieshis baseball accomplishments and still manages to make us smile. A superior sports book bound to interest more than just die-hard fans, ranking with classics like Robert Creamer's Babe: The Legend Comes to Life (1974) and Richard Ben Cramer's Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life (2000). Author tour to New York, Washington, D.C., Birmingham, Ala., St. Louis, Los Angeles, Montclair, N.J.
From the Publisher
"A competent and comprehensive job, with enough stories and statistics to satisfy the most fervent fan." —-The Washington Post
Jim Bouton
“Allen Barra’s real Yogi Berra is even more interesting than the legendary one.”
David Maraniss
“Count me among the Yankee haters who devoured this book.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393062335
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/18/2009
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 639,365
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Allen Barra is a sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal and the best-selling author of The Last Coach, Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee and Rickwood Field. His writing appears in the Washington Post, Salon, Playboy, and The Daily Beast. He lives in New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Inventing Yogi Berra

Ch. 1 King of the Hill (1925-1942) 3

Ch. 2 Larry Bernt, They Call Him Yogi... (1943-1946) 25

Ch. 3 A Silly Hitter (1947) 52

Ch. 4 A Rather Strange Fellow of Very Remarkable Abilities (1948-1949) 83

Ch. 5 Mister Berra... My Assistant Manager (1950-1951) 123

Ch. 6 Residue of Design (1952-1953) 163

Ch. 7 The House That Yogi Built (1954-1956) 186

Ch. 8 The Silver Age (1957-1960) 232

Ch. 9 Manage Who? (1961-1964) 278

Ch. 10 It Ain't Over (1965-1973) 317

Ch. 11 Deja vu All Over Again (1976-1985) 346

Ch. 12 Eternal Yankee (1986- ) 360

App. A Was Yogi the Greatest? Yogi Berra, Jonny Bench, Roy Campanella, Mickey Cochrane, and Bill Dickey Compared 379

App. B Yogi Berra and the Great Minds: A Comparative Study 396

App. C Casey Interviews Yogi 400

App. D Distant Replay: Watching the 1956 Perfect Game with Yogi and Don Larsen 402

Acknowledgments 405

Notes 411

Bibliography 429

Index 437

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2009

    A great story of the life of a true American sports hero

    Mr. Barra has done a fantastic job of bringing Yogi Berra's story to sports and history fans. I had expected a book about a great Yankee ballplayer written only about baseball. What I got was a book about a man and the time he lived in as a ballplayer, war hero, family man, and businessman. Yogi is shown to possess all the attributes and ethical standards so often talked about but so seldom displayed.

    Did I mention that Yogi played baseball? The book gives great insight into players and teams of the 40's thru the 70's, with background data and stories of the players on and off the field.

    I recommend the book for baseball fans and for readers who want insight into life in the working class area of St. Louis.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2009

    A Winner

    I bought this as a gift for my dad for his 75th birthday. As a lifelong Yankee fan, he has read every book out there written by and about the Yankees. He loved it! It is now being passed around between by three brothers, also Yankee fans,

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Yogi Berra, more than a ballplayer

    I have not followed baseball since the 1994 strike wiped out the post-season and the subsequent changes - inter-league play, and the wild card - which in my opinion ruined the game; not to mention the use of illegal substances by today's players which taint the holy grail of baseball, the record book. With that said, I still remain a fan of the history of the game (pre-1994), and for anyone who loves the Golden Era of baseball, this book is a must read. I laughed and cried as I read this book. For those who think they know Yogi Berra, trust me, you don't. War hero, loving son, devoted husband and father, astute businessman, loyal friend and American icon are but a few of the titles you can add to this man's resume alongside of course, Hall of Famer. 'Yogi' takes us back to a simpler time and place when all seemed right in the world. Read this book and you will long for the day when baseball WAS indeed America's game and ballplayers were real people. God bless Yogi Berra we are lucky to have him among us.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 22, 2009

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    Posted November 30, 2009

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