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In the introduction to his latest effort, Barra (The Last Coach: A Life of Paul Bear Bryant) says that one of his goals was to create the first comprehensive work written about Yogi Berra, the greatest ballplayer never to have had a serious biography. The result is not only comprehensive but also incredibly engaging, as Barra narrates the life of one of the most eccentric ballplayers of the 20th century. Starting with his modest Italian upbringing in St. Louis, Mo., Berra quickly took a liking to what his father called a bum's game. And after a short career in the navy, he parlayed his talents into one of the most decorated athletic careers in history, leading the New York Yankees to 10 World Series championships and winning three MVPs. Each of Berra's baseball highlights is meticulously described, as are his stints as a manager for both the Yankees and crosstown Mets, his relationships with men like Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle and George Steinbrenner, and his ability to create some of the most famous catchphrases of our time, Yogiisms, as they're called. Barra's love of the catcher with the similar name is evident throughout this deserving biography of Yogi. (Mar.)
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*Starred Review* Barra brings to his sporting version of the Everyman story an encyclopedic knowledge and warm understanding of the game of baseball; meticulous research into business, sociology, and history; and a fluid writing style. The rough gem in this setting is Lorenzo Pietro Berra, the most beloved Yankee and one of the greatest players of all time. Barra makes that argument forcefully as he tells the story of the boy on “Dago Hill” in St Louis who only ever wanted to play ball. We are amazed again at how young Berra was and how cannily he played. The author calls 1947–58 the Yogi Berra era (a period that produced 10 pennants and 8 World Series championships) while giving ample credit to Casey Stengel as manager and Berra’s teammates, from DiMaggio to Mantle. The chapter on Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, which Yogi caught, is worth the price of admission. No anecdote is left unchecked, and the famous koans (“It ain’t over til it’s over”) are traced, investigated, and illuminated like holy writ. From Yogi on D-Day (he was there, on the beaches) to Yogi Bear the cartoon to Yogi’s postplayer roles as manager and coach, Barra covers it all, and what we embrace throughout is a great athlete and a good guy. Baseball biography taken to a higher level. --GraceAnne A. DeCandidoSee all Editorial Reviews
This is a rollicking good read about a true character in the world of baseball. It is also an excellent slice of time and life that has sadly, in many ways, has gone by too soon. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Improv bass 4
Good biography for baseball lovers. This book is similar to the book "Ten Rings" 2003, 221 pages text - written by Dave Kaplan. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dennis F. Lasanen
Most of us know Yogi Berra for his catch phrases and cartoonish character, but what we don't realize is just how great of a player Yogi really was. Read morePublished 13 months ago by benhat
The entire book could have been a third its size. The author spent most of the book stating " boring" statistics, over and over, rather than just telling the story. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Allen Cox
Excellent book, well researched and well written. I didn't know a whole lot about Yogi coming in and Barra did a great job painting a vibrant picture of the player on and off the... Read morePublished 17 months ago by clemente_in_right
Because this was a gift, it is hard to give it a review. Sorry, if this disappoints you, but it is an honest reviewPublished 18 months ago by Charlene Johnson
Bought this for my husband and he was less than impressed. I need to stop buying sports books for him and let him pick them on his own.!Published 18 months ago by Mary Weaver
A great and informative read. Covers many of his hilarious comments
and gives you a great insight as to how he became such a lovable