Tony DeMeo

A Great Leader & Genius in Disguise

1953_Bowman_Yogi_BerraThis week saw the passing of a great American Icon that was loved by all. Yogi Berra, the Hall of Fame catcher passed away at the age of 90 after a wonderful life. Yogi was called by Hall of Fame Manager “a baseball genius & the best player I ever managed” Wow – quite a statement from the old professor, considering he managed Joe DiMaggio & Mickey Mantle.
Yogi was a three time Most Valuable Player and won Ten World Series Rings. He also was the first manager to get a team from the American League and the National League in the World Series.

“It ain’t over ‘till it’s over” — Yogi

But Yogi Berra was much more than statistics. He was one of the great clutch players of all time. When the game was on the line, you wanted Yogi at the plate. On a play at the plate you wanted Yogi making the tag. Whitey Ford, the great Yankee lefty said he never shook Yogi off, Yogi was that great at calling a game.

“Nobody goes to Joe’s anymore, it’s always too crowded” — Yogi

But the love for Yogi went even deeper. Yogi was one of us. He was always the guy that was too short or too clumsy or to slow or too undisciplined to be a big leaguer. He never “looked the part” but Yogi was more than looking the part – He WAS THE PART.

“Baseball is 90% Mental & the other half physical” — Yogi

Yogi was the American Dream Personified. He grew up in St. Louis in the Italian section known as The Hill. His family was poor & lived in one of the many homes made from abandoned box cars. He was short & squat and certainly not “a natural” but his work ethic was relentless & his study of baseball was second to none. He worked endless hours with Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey perfecting his craft. He worked himself into being a first ballot Hall of Famer

“I didn’t really say everything I said” — Yogi

Yogi was so smart, he didn’t mind playing dumb. Joe Garagiola made a living on things Yogi supposedly said. Yogi never cried foul or took offense, he had fun with it. The lesson for our athletes today is “Thou shalt not take thyself too seriously” Yogi never did & was loved & respected by all. I met Yogi once at a Communion Breakfast when I was about eleven & he signed my program & he asked if I played & I said I did. Then he said “how are you hitting? & I said “not so good’ – Yogi’s advice “Just put the bat on the ball” Simple & to the point.

“Always go to other peoples’ funerals so they’ll come to yours” Yogi

Sorry Mr. Berra I won’t be able to make yours but I still love ya – Tony