New York Yankees great Yogi Berra died Tuesday at age 90. Since retiring from baseball as a player in 1965, Berra has been known as much for his witty sayings, affectionately known as Yogiisms.
Reporter Phil Pepe, who covered the Yankees during Berra’s career, perhaps summed up Berra’s wisdom best: “He has a native intelligence, an innate wisdom, and a wonderful way of cutting through all the folderol and getting to the heart of a matter,” Pepe wrote. “When he says something that seems funny, it really isn’t funny at all; it is wise.”
Berra himself always seemed to be a reluctant philosopher, and he told a reporter whence his witticisms came: “You see, I break up the English a little bit. I don’t mean to do it, but it just comes out that way.”
Here’s a collection of some of our favorite quotes that are attributed to Berra:
In giving directions to a former teammate who was coming to visit him at his home in Montclair, New Jersey, Berra accidentally injected a profundity that even made it into one of George W. Bush’s State of the Union addresses:
“When you come to a fork in the road: take it” ~ Yogi Berra Berra is the only man to manage both Yankees and Mets to the World Series.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 23, 2015
Some advice on being attentive:
“You can observe a lot just by watching.” – Yogi Berra #RIPYogiBerra
— Jay Harris (@JayHarrisESPN) September 23, 2015
One of his Berra’s most repeated quotes (and a fine Lenny Kravitz song), was uttered in 1973 when a reporter asked him whether the New York Mets, which he was managing at the time, were out of the pennant race:
— ABCA (@ABCA1945) September 23, 2015
He was known for uttering unintended paradoxes:
Yogi Berra once said,”If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.” I think the world just became a little less perfect. R.I.P., Yogi.
— Adam Lewis (@AdamLewisPI) September 23, 2015
My favorite quote: “No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.” #YogiBerra
— H Polley (@sfphotogirl) September 23, 2015
“If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.” #RIPYogiBerra
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) September 23, 2015
— Scott Nicholson (@scott_nicholson) September 23, 2015
“Always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise they won’t come to yours.” RIP, Yogi.
— Chris Wood (@ChristophrWood) September 23, 2015
When it came to baseball, reporters loved getting quotes from Berra because he had a way of capturing the game’s subtleties as few could:
“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.” RIP Yogi Berra, St. Louis native and one of the all-time greats
— Ann Wagner (@RepAnnWagner) September 23, 2015
“We made too many wrong mistakes.” – Yogi Berra (this actually makes a lot of sense to experienced coaches & athletes)
— Tom Chorske (@hockeylogic) September 23, 2015
— Randy Dang (@rdang13) September 23, 2015
The New York Post captured the phenomenon behind Berra’s off-field persona well:
But what made Berra a cultural icon was his way to put things in a way no one else quite could. And even if he mixed up his words, they still added up to a sound point.
A warning though—even Berra was skeptical about whether all these quotations should be attributed to him. As he once put it, “I didn’t really say everything I said.”