Fifty years ago last week Sandy Koufax retired from baseball.
The Atlantic Monthly just published anentitled “The Incomparable Career of Sandy Koufax.” In the 1963 World Series (won 4 games to 0 by the Dodgers) Koufax beat Yankee Ace Whitey Ford in the first game. Yogi Berra, Ford’s batterymate, gave his inimitable summary of the matchless Koufax season when he said, “I can see how he won twenty-five games. What I don’t understand is how he lost five.”
On the first anniversary of Yogi’s passing this reminded me of what I consider Yogi’s 25 most quotable statements – ones that have utility for anyone running for political office, working with teenagers or managing a company:
1. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
2. He made too many wrong mistakes.
3. You can observe a lot by watching.
4. The future ain’t what it used to be.
5. Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.
6. You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going because you might not get there.
7. I never said most of the things I said.
8. It’s like deja-vu all over again.
9. Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.
10. I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary.
11. It gets late early out there.
12. He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.
13. I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.
14. In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.
15. A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
16. How can you think and hit at the same time?
17. Even Napoleon had his Watergate.
18. It was impossible to get a conversation going; everyone was talking too much.
19. Always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise, they won’t come to yours.
20. You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.
21. You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.
22. We have deep depth.
23. Pair up in threes.
24. Never answer an anonymous letter.
25. A lot of guys go, ‘Hey, Yog, say a Yogi-ism.’ I tell ’em, ‘I don’t know any.’ They want me to make one up. I don’t make ’em up. I don’t even know when I say it. They’re the truth. And it is the truth. I don’t know.
In a tense World Series and hyper-political season, it’s fun for old-timers to be provoked to recall Yogi Berra’s wisdom to share with a younger generation who never knew him.
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