If I was born 30 years earlier, I would have been able to see Yogi Berra play.
I often think about things like that. What if I was a kid in the 1950’s? I sometimes think that maybe that’s the era when I should have been born.
I love classic movies like Marty, On the Waterfront, Rio Bravo, and countless others. I love the music of Bobby Darin, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and countless others. And, of course, I love baseball. And baseball in the 1950’s was baseball.
Think about this, future Hall-of-Famers Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays began their careers in the 1950’s. Those are three of the game’s all-time greats — and they were the 50’s.
Mantle won the Triple Crown in 1956. In the same year, Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the World Series. The Yankees dominated baseball in those days and Yogi was a big part of it. Huge part of it.
Ralph Kiner led the National League in homers three times in the 50’s. Mays hit 51 long balls in 1955. That same year, the Brooklyn Dodgers finally beat the Yankees for their first and only World Series while playing in Brooklyn.
Ted Williams was in the prime of his career in the 50’s.
Baseball continued (although slowly), its integration in the 50’s and Jackie Robinson led the way just years earlier.
In those days, my family rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers. We were born and raised in Brooklyn and “Dem Bums” were the team to root for. If I was born in the 50’s, that’s the team I would have rooted for. Pee Wee, Jackie, Furillo, and the Duke would have been a few of my favorites.
Brooklyn’s backstop in those days was Roy Campanella. He won three MVP Awards in the 1950’s. I certainly would have been a big fan of “Campy” and the Brooklyn Dodgers. But I still would have admired what Yogi said and did.
Much like “Campy”, Yogi also won three Most Valuable Player Awards in the 50’s. He was an 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series winner (three of his wins came in the 50’s).
He was a catcher. He wore number 8. He made you laugh with his “Yogiisms”, and gave his all on the baseball diamond all the time. How could you not root for him? Even if he was a Yankee.
And, he was a Navy hero long before a baseball hero.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the 1980’s. I was born on January 8, 1981 in Brooklyn, NY and at that time, I was born into a Mets family.
My hero growing up was a New York catcher. He also wore number 8. He also gave his all on the baseball diamond all the time. I’ve written about him many times. His name was Gary Carter.
Both were leaders and heroes in their own right. Now, Yogi and the Kid are both gone — but never forgotten. RIP, Yogi. Say hi to Kid for us.