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Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee Paperback – March 29, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
*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. DeCandido --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
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Top customer reviews
Allen Barra wrote a great book about the really nice man and baseball legend Yogi Berra. The well written 453 page book is a page burner with no boring parts. Lots of nice B/W pictures too. I read the book in 3 days and had difficulty putting it down. The book reads smoothly and is a pleasure to read.
I just got done reading about HOF Joe Dimaggio. Both men HOF and Yankee legends. Joe D the self proclaimed "king of baseball" vs Yogi the fun loving, lovable very low ego guy. What a difference in egos!
We read Lawrence "Lawdie" Berra being brought up in the depression by his loving Italian decent parents in St. Louis, in an Italian section of "the Hill". We read "Lawdie" and other family members and having small jobs to add to the family income and "Lawdie" having boyhood fun especially baseball. "Lawdie" had little interest in school and droped out of the 9th grade. We see him eventually playing semi pro baseball and getting into the minors. Berra was an undisciplined hitter that would swing at almost anything even way out of the strike zone. Even so he develops into a good hitter with power. He is slightly clumsy and not too good at defense and doesn't develop into a catcher until many years later. He gets a very small bonus and near minimum baseball wages to join the NY Yankees.
WE see Lawrence"Yogi" Berra was a WW2 decorated( Purple heart and more) Navy Veteran that served on a small "rocket launching boat" on D day.
We see him learning baseball with great managers like Casey Stengel. Bill Dickey the Yankee great catcher takes now "Yogi" under his wing and teaches him the skills allowing Berra to use his athletic ability to become one of the greatest catchers of all ( if not the greatest). At the end of the book Allen Barra has a listing of the great catchers and their comparisons( INMO Johny Bench and Yogi were so close to being the greatest catchers of all time with Yogi the more important big game player. He played in more World Series games than any other player with ten World Series rings. Its also shown the pitchers Yogi caught and the pitchers record before and after Berra caught them and the great success these pitchers enjoyed while Berra caught them and called the pitches. Yogi is shown as a great baseball "quarterback" knowing how to pitch various pitchers in the league and calling great games. We see the only ever World Series perfect game by Don Larson and caught and called by Yogi Berra.
The book is full of the many Yankee great players that played with Berra and with other great players too. The reader will learn much more than Yogi Berra.
We see the legend of the Yogi "Isms" like "It ain't over till its over" and "If you come to and fork in the road take it" and many many more.
We see the multiple MVP awards Berra earned and eventually managing the Yankees to the pennant only to be fired for not winning the World Series. Yogi was crushed and was mad Steinbrenner didn't have the decency to fire him face to face. For about 14 plus year Yogi refuses to set foot in Yankee stadium while George Steinbrenner is in charge. With only a few months to live and dieing Joe Dimaggio influences Berra to met with Steinbrenner. Eventually Yogi forgives Steinbrenner for not firing him face to face.
We also see Berra as the Mets manager and helping them to win a pennant. Later we see him coaching with the Houston Astros.
We see Berra a national celebrity helping sell many products, doing commercials like the famous Aflac commercial, becoming a VP for the Yah Hoo chocolate soda company and even being in a movie. We see him and HOF Phil Rizzuto opening and owning a big bowling alley complex,allowing financial security for Berra's kids and beautiful, loving wife Carmin. We see Yogi developing into a very good businessman. He also had a museum named for him in Montclair NJ where he lived. Yogi loved watching movies and reading comic books.
Yogi did it all in baseball except winning the World Series as a manager. Here's is a man you loved playing the game, managing and coaching. The vast majority of players got along with him ( notable exceptions Tom Seaver and C Jones on the Mets). Yogi was a fun loving guy that millions world wide fell in love with as he was so down to earth, honest and didn't put on airs and had a very low ego.
One of my favorite Yankee MLB players, a great warm lovable low ego human being. Yogi Berra The Eternal Yankee 5 stars and recommended.
and pictures. I did however enjoy both books. I worked at Tiger Stadium after high school graduation from Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan for the Detroit Sport Service Company and remember seeing Yogi there back in 1965. I believe he was managing the New York Yankees at the time. He was one of my favorite players back then and one of my all time favorite retired players today. So the two books meant a lot to me. Yogi was asked by the press one time, "What makes a good Manager"? Yogi's response: "Good Players".
Expertly narrated by Norman Dietz(another American treasure),"YOGI" is ripe with legend and lore from the Golden Age of baseball every fan will enjoy, regardless of their favorite team. Such as Berra working in a hardware,then clothing store during the off season to pay the bills(imagine buying a toilet seat from A-Rod?). And of course it is replete with origins of the famous "YOGI-isms", not to mention countless stories that will have you bust-outloud laughing,even in your sleep(I listen to this during the night, instead of mindless radio talk shows, de-pressing news, or banal sports jive).
You have been alerted. Buy this immediately.
I have known Allen ever since we were both in college working on the college newspaper. Over the years I have seen the quality of his writing grow exponentially better to where I honestly do not know if his writing can ever be better than it is in this book.
What is so wonderful about YOGI BERRA: ETERNAL YANKEE is not what Allen Barra writes about: the facts, the quotes, the comments others just allude to that he backs-up, etc.; it's about how he stirs all of those together in such a way that produces the aroma of spaghetti cooking on a stove in St. Louis with just the right amount of tomatoes, just the right amount of meat balls, and the fragrance of garlic ever so lively dancing with the steam rising from the pan. And, just when you think it cannot get any better, along comes Barra to add a little Italian wine.
As in previous books about other larger than life characters, Allen Barra has written one by which not only all other books about Yogi will be measured, but also all other sport biographies.
I recommend that you read this book and remember what it was like when real men played the sport of baseball.