Yogi Berra: The Greatest Man to Ever Play Ball

Thomas H.Correspondent INovember 11, 2008

He loved the game. He loves the game. The man breathes New York Yankee baseball and the stadium in which they play (well, played).

He didn't want to see that palace fall, but he never objected. He silently said his good bye at his last game in the stadium, dressed in his No. 8 pinstripes.

As Yankee Stadium left, Yogi became a big face around. He never complained though, and he never changed the subject to some silly idea. He spoke about his love of the Yankees and how he loved everything about them.

He had a key identification, dedication. The man played four different positions, outfield, third base, first base, and, most importantly, he played catcher.

He played a total of 2,120 games over 19 years, only four which weren't played with the Yankees. The last four? They were with the Mets, in which he only batted nine times. It was in his last season, in 1965.

Before 1946, he served in the military. He came back and eventually got a contract with the Yankees.

The man's life has been the Yankees. He was a coach for them and won two World Series. He was also a coach with the Astros in the '80s and a coach for the Mets in the '60s and '70s (won the 1969 Series).

His stats are incredible. He was a three-time MVP, in the Hall of Fame in 1972, and a 15-time All Star.

He had two 30 home run years, three years with a .300 batting average and had more than a 100 RBI in a year five times. With such good hitting stats, it's an amazing to think he was still a catcher, the head of the Yankees' defense. Still, he was a multi- dimensional player, playing four different positions in his career, with short stints at third and first base.

There was one awkward stint with the Yankees and Berra. After he had only been manager for 16 days, he was fired by George Steinbrenner. This did not go well with Berra, who would not be on good terms until 1999.

The man who said it ain't over till its over, who loves a team that for years didn't love him back, is who I call the greatest man who ever played the game.

Yogi does not play today, but No. 8 will never be forgotten.