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Known for his quick wit in the form of “Yogi-isms” as much as his playing career, baseball legend Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra passed away in his sleep on Tuesday night.
Just found out that Yogi Berra died, literally, 69 years to the day of his MLB debut. 69. Even in death the man is hilarious.
— Rob Fox III (@BaconTFM) September 23, 2015
Peter Morrice, a senior editor at Golf Digest, caddied for Berra many times at Montclair Golf Club in West Orange, New Jersey. He has fond memories of Berra as a club member, golfer, and person. Morrice has some great Yogi-isms straight from the source, too, as people who hung out with Yogi tend to have.
From Golf Digest:
During one of the 20 or so times I caddied for him, he was having a particularly bad day. Yogi was not a good golfer, but he loved playing matches. On this day he was topping the ball, chunking, skulling, you name it. After about five holes, he announced, “I can’t do anything today. I’ve played here too many times this week.” Everyone in the group paused — members seemed to develop a sense for when Yogi was about to deliver a line. He continued, “But I’m not playing here this weekend.” With giddy anticipation, one member asked, “Where are you going this weekend, Yog?” “Saturday I’m playing in Philadelphia, and Sunday I’m playing in Pennsylvania.”
Another time I was on Yogi’s bag, and we got to a par 3 with wind coming at us. Everyone in the group was analyzing what club to hit. Yogi looked around — he never seemed to be grinding — and said, “I’ll go.” So he grabbed an iron, hit it up in the breeze and ended up short, in the front bunker. The question came: “Yogi, how far did you hit that?” And the answer: “As far as I hit it.” Now, whether that meant as far as he could hit that club or as far as he hit that shot, it was anyone’s guess. That was often the case with Yogi-isms: What they meant — and if they were genius or nonsense — was not as important as the moment they created.
Morrice also tells the legendary story of the first hole Yogi played at Montclair after becoming a member.
As the story goes, Yogi had about a 10-footer on the first green, and the caddie was stalking it from all angles. Now, you have to know here that Yogi was a right-handed golfer who putted lefty — just the kind of thing you’d expect from a man known for his quirkiness. Anyway, after careful inspection, the caddie informs Yogi the putt will break a few inches left to right. Yogi gives a grateful nod, steps in and sends the ball on its way. But it breaks in the opposite direction. The caddie, aghast with embarrassment, says, “I’m so sorry, Mr. Berra! It went the other way.” Yogi shrugs and smiles, “It’s not your fault. I should’ve told you I putt lefty.”
My favorite Yogi story that Morrice recalls in his piece is one he heard from his father.
Dad remembers a story about Yogi standing over a shot that had to carry a lake. With his all-too-intense playing partner standing next to him, Yogi admitted, “I might hit it in the water here.” To which his partner said, “Yogi, you’ve got this shot. Be positive!” So Yogi quickly rethought his comment and said, “OK, I’ll definitely hit it in the water.”
Yogi may no longer be with us, but his Yogi-isms will live on forever..
[via Golf Digest]
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