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"It ain't over till it's over."
American baseball legend and Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra died Sept. 22, the same day he first walked onto the field as a New York Yankee 69 years ago in 1946. It was on that team that he rose to prominence as a revered member of the sport—a 15-time All Star who played in 14 World Series and won 10 of them, both record-setting feats.
The three-time American League Most Valuable Player Award winner was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, joining fellow baseball greats like Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson.
Berra passed away in his home in West Caldwell, N.J., of natural causes, reported by the Yankees and Yogi Berra Museum.
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The son of Italian immigrants Pietro Berra and Pauline Berra, the famed catcher was born in St. Louis, Missouri's Italian district, "The Hill," on May 12, 1925. He was raised alongside three older brothers and a younger sister. The iconic catcher's birth certificate reads Lawrence Peter Berra—but the name was scrapped publicly following one afternoon spent at the movie theater when he was a teenager.
After viewing the film, which included a small bit on Indian culture, Berra's friend noticed an uncanny resemblance between Berra and the "yogi"—someone who practices yoga—on the screen. The name quickly caught on, sticking with the player for the remaining decades of his career, inspiring the cartoon character Yogi Bear and rising to prominence as the second most recognized nickname in baseball behind "Babe" Ruth.
After his retirement as a player following the 1963 World Series, Berra was hired as the new manager of the team he had built his career on and later coached and managed the New York Mets as well—leading both teams to world series throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Routinely spurting out unique idioms, the player's nickname was later used to coin his growing list of famous phrases—his "Yogi-isms." Fan favorites include "It's déjà vu all over again," "When you come to a fork in the road...take it," "I usually take a two-hour nap from one to four" and "Never answer an anonymous letter."
Still, there is one particular "Yogi-ism" that seems all too fitting as we remember the deeply-loved legend:"I want to thank you for making this day necessary."
Thank you, Yogi Berra.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Berra's family and friends.