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Ten Rings: My Championship Seasons

Ten Rings: My Championship Seasons

by Yogi Berra, Dave Kaplan

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In more than a century of baseball history, there is only one player who has won the most championship rings—Yogi Berra. He has ten of them, in fact. One for each and every finger.

In Ten Rings, Yogi, for the first time, tells the stories behind each of those remarkable championship seasons, spanning 1947 through 1962, baseball's golden years. It


In more than a century of baseball history, there is only one player who has won the most championship rings—Yogi Berra. He has ten of them, in fact. One for each and every finger.

In Ten Rings, Yogi, for the first time, tells the stories behind each of those remarkable championship seasons, spanning 1947 through 1962, baseball's golden years. It was a time when players played for the love of the game, a time when dynasties were born and baseball became the national pastime. And what a pastime it was.

With Yogi Berra at their heart, Casey Stengel's Yankees took on their heralded archrivals: the Cleveland Indians, the New York Giants, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and, of course, the Boston Red Sox. And with those teams was Yogi's constellation of contemporaries, a who's who of the Hall of Fame: Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Phil Rizzuto, and many others.

Each season brought its own drama, and it's all brought to life by the man who witnessed it. Ten Rings is a one-of-a-kind story told by a one-of-a-kind guy, baseball's elder statesman, the beloved Yogi Berra.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Ten Rings, describing a career that spanned baseball's evolution from train travel to jet planes, lovingly evokes the people Berra encountered—teammates (as a rookie, Berra played with Joe DiMaggio; when he retired in 1963, he shared the dugout with Joe Pepitone), opponents, even umpires. Berra repeatedly cites as the secret of the Yankees' success the power of team spirit, and his book is an example of its warmth and power.—Michael Anderson
Publishers Weekly
In this breezy effort, New York Yankees legend Berra shares stories behind his 10 World Series championships. On the field, Berra's resume is impeccable-15 all-star appearances, 10 world championships and a couple of league MVP awards. Off the field, Berra is even more famous for the homespun malapropisms that have endeared him to generations of fans. In this effort, billed as Berra's only "memoir," the Yankee legend strikes a balance between both claims to fame. In charming, if occasionally mangled prose, Berra details a career that brought him from a poor St. Louis neighborhood to Cooperstown. He recounts signing with the Yankees for $500 and playing alongside the richest array of heroes in Yankees history, including Joe DiMaggio and famed manager Casey Stengel. Unfortunately, the book is so brief that readers will be left begging for more. The World Series recaps, while scant, are entertaining, and the details are at times fascinating: for example, after traveling to Milwaukee by plane for the first time in the 1958 series, no hotel would take the team, forcing them to lodge 35 miles away at a lakeside retreat. Berra's personal and family stories are also touching. In addition to being a baseball hero, Berra is a war hero who survived D-Day. Fans will be especially taken with how much baseball has changed since the dawn of free agency. Berra had to claw to get a modest raise after consecutive MVP awards in 1954 and 1955. For diehard fans, there really isn't much in this book they won't already know, but they'll find it impossible to put down. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Hall of Fame catcher Berra, whose playing career ended in 1965, is a throwback to a different era of baseball, and his latest book is a throwback to a kinder, gentler era of sports autobiography. Nowhere does he dish on or diss teammates and rivals, aside from stating the well known (Mickey Mantle drank too much, pitcher Ryne Duren drank way too much, and so on). Nowhere does he regale us with proof of his prowess as a lover and a party boy. True, we come away with the strong impression that he was not enamored of former Yankee General Manager George Weiss, but he has no low blows to throw at the man. He also mentions, though barely in passing, his 14-year self-imposed exile from Yankee Stadium owing to his ill treatment by owner George Steinbrenner. But if Yogi has axes to grind, there are no whetstones here. Instead, he concentrates on a straightforward, year-by-year account of the ten seasons between 1947 and 1962 that ended with his being fitted for another world championship ring. Even in this discussion, he breaks no new ground and doesn't offer particularly compelling reading, but it's rather nice today to hear one of the old-time, all-time greats hold court. Recommended for most public library baseball collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/03.]-Jim Burns, Jacksonville P.L., FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Ten Rings LP
My Championship Seasons

Chapter One


Rookie Awakening

I was a bit eager, maybe a bit nervous, just trying to take life as I found it. Spring training with the New York Yankees sure beat shoveling coal or unloading cases of bottles off a truck. There were big expectations for the Yankees in '47, big questions, too. Being only February, nobody knew what lay ahead when we left LaGuardia Field (that was before it was called LaGuardia Airport) for an unusual barnstorming trip through Latin America before spring training in St. Petersburg. It started in San Juan, Puerto Rico, then Caracas, Venezuela, and Havana, Cuba, then wound up at our training camp. It caused grumbling, because the veterans felt it was too much travel, too hot, and forty-five exhibition games were unnecessary. Just one of Larry MacPhail's make-more-money schemes, they said. To me it was fun. It was baseball.

I wasn't sure what to expect that spring, just not so much attention. Almost the minute we got to Puerto Rico somebody was saying something or doing something, and I was in the middle. One day I'd find soap and sand and water in my catcher's mitt. Another day I'd find stuff in my athletic supporter that'd burn your skin. Rookie pranks have always been part of baseball, so I figured this was welcome to the Yankees. Wisecracks about my looking like a Neanderthal man, nothing I could do to change that. The writers came over to me a lot and made sport of my looks and things I said, even if I didn't say exactly what I said. Sometimes they made it sound like I didn't know anything. Maybe it was my habit of saying "Huh?" when they asked a question. That's because I wasn't always sure what they were getting at.

Sure I was a little naïve, and it showed. Because of the political conditions in Venezuela that spring, I got pawed by a policeman, who was apparently looking for a gun as I entered the ballpark. I thought it was an old Venezuelan greeting and gave the cop a big hug in return. The poor guy twitched in embarrassment.

Actually, I'd gotten a preview of some razzing about me the last week of the'46 season. After a couple of games with the Yankees, Bill Summers, the umpire, said to me, "Welcome to the club." I thought that was a bit presumptuous, so I asked, "What club?" He said, "The All-Ugly Club." I looked at Summers and told him that he must be the president, and we both had a laugh. Most of the jokes about me were kidding. If I couldn't take anything said about me, cruel or otherwise, I figured I wouldn't be in baseball long. Besides, there's an old saying, if they don't like you, they won't notice you.

One thing I never wanted to do was make a fool of myself on the ball field. I belonged on the field, and I'd always believed that. I knew this was a big chance, too. Off the field there were big happenings in 1947 that set the stage for a momentous year. Leo Durocher, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who we played a lot that spring, got suspended for the whole year by Commissioner Happy Chandler for "incidents detrimental to baseball." I guess the last straw was his tirade against Larry MacPhail, who charged he was cavorting with Cuban gamblers. The Dodgers trained in Havana to lessen the prejudice against Jackie Robinson, who they wanted to bring up as the first black player. I'd played against Jackie the previous year in the International League and no question he was an excellent player. But there was still a question whether the Dodgers would really bring him up. I didn't think much about blacks playing in the majors for the first time. If they had the skills, they should play. Playing against Jackie with Montreal, I always felt respect and don't remember any incidents. But there was prejudice all around, that's for sure. As a kid going to Sportsman's Park, I was always bothered to see the black fans restricted to the right-field pavilion; it bothered me more that it was the last park with segregated seating.

Jackie breaking the color barrier was a tremendous thing. That spring Durocher was great in supporting him, because he knew the Dodgers needed his talent and Jackie deserved a shot. Certainly the war affected a lot of teams; it took a while for veterans to get into shape and find their rhythm again. So there were opportunities. That was the case with the Yankees, who sort of fell off in 1946. They had a lot of players coming and going, and it was no surprise they finished in third, seventeen games behind the Red Sox.

The biggest question that spring was Joe DiMaggio's heel; he had a bone spur removed in February, and nobody knew when he'd be ready. There was also a new manager, Bucky Harris, who they used to call "Boy Wonder" because he was real young when he managed the Washington Senators back in the 1920s. He wasn't a boy anymore, or a wonder. He was well traveled and could shoot the bull pretty good with the writers. He looked like a hard rock because he came from Pennsylvania coal country, but he was quiet and low-key. I remember that spr ng DiMaggio told a bunch of us, "Harris is a real nice guy. Let's give him all we've got."

Ten Rings LP
My Championship Seasons
. Copyright © by Yogi Berra . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Yogi Berra was a Hall of Fame catcher for the New York Yankees for seventeen seasons and later became a manager and coach for the Yankees and the New York Mets. Off the field, his folksy wit and generosity of spirit have made him an American icon. Yogi is also a bestselling author and the inspiration for the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, a nonprofit sports education center. The museum is in Yogi's hometown, Montclair, New Jersey.

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