Yogi Berra Reacts To George Steinbrenner’s Death

yogiberra2.jpgLocally, no one is mourning the death of George Steinbrenner quite like Montclair’s own baseball legend Yogi Berra. Reporters, including Baristanet’s Kristie Cattafi, packed the Yogi Berra Museum this afternoon in Little Falls.
Berra spoke to reporters and took questions for about a half hour. His wife Carmen and son Dale were at his side. When his wife Carmen gave him the news of Steinbrenner’s death this morning, Berra recalled being in disbelief, saying “No, no, it didn’t happen.”
Berra last spoke to Steinbrenner on the Fourth of July and the two had made plans to see each other this Sunday at Old Timers Day. Steinbrenner asked “How’s my girlfriend,” referring to Berra’s wife Carmen and the two laughed.
Berra said of Steinbrenner, “He had a good relationship with players, he wanted to be a winner and that’s what he did. I wish I could have played for him.”
Berra also mentioned the loss of Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard, adding that he loved the way he announced the names. The only time Berra appeared emotional during the press conference was when recalling how he got fired as Yankees manager in 1985, saying “That’s when I said ‘I’ll never come back to Yankee Stadium again.” He then said how Steinbrenner later came to the museum to apologize, telling Berra he flew all the way from Florida “to be friends with you again.”
Berra added, “Everyone makes mistakes.”

Earlier today, Berra and his wife released this statement:

“This is a very sad day for me and Carmen and all of baseball. My sympathies go out to the Steinbrenner family. George was The Boss, make no mistake. He built the Yankees into champions and that’s something nobody can ever deny. He was a very generous, caring, passionate man. George and I had our differences, but who didn’t? We became great friends over the last decade and I will miss him very much.”

During the press conference Berra remembered a funny conversation between himself and Steinbrenner in 1984 when Berra was the Yankees manager. “George called me up and said your team isn’t looking too good. I said it’s not my team it’s yours, you’re the one who picked them,” Berra said, laughing.

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  1. I can’t stand the Yankees (I think mostly because their fans can be so obnoxious) but I always respected Steinbrenner’s passion to make them into winners. People can love or hate him, but he put 110% into the franchise, turning it into the most lucrative sports brand on the planet.

  2. Surely, whatever MellonBrush posted, it could not easily compare to the bullragging Steinbrenner himself engaged in whenever it suited his own narrow purposes? (The man himself was, lest we forget, a convicted felon.)
    And am I the only one who thought Yogi, at least as quoted above, was being decidedly over-kind about the Yankees’ principal owner? If this item had been written by someone who actually knew something about baseball history, after all (sorry, Liz and/or Kristie, but do either of you….), the litany of Steinbrenner’s sins against his employees in general, and Yogi in particular, would have been rather lengthy.

  3. Himmler and Mao are also dead, shoebooty. (And who can really tell about Fidel?) Should we give them a “brake?” Or just a brake shoe to the head?
    You may be one of those “Of the dead, only speak well…”sorts, which is fine. But it’s also clear you too probably know very little about baseball. Particularly with respect to Yogi Berra’s own history with Steinbrenner.

  4. Cathar, I see that you are unilaterally expanding the playing field that stretches out beneath that perpetual and predictable scolding of yours, which, as we all know, is invariably directed at your fellow Baristavillians.
    You seem to be branching out from the realm of religion and politics – and into the realm of baseball, of all things !
    No doubt, you see castigation diversification as necessary in uncertain times.

  5. Yogi saw the fork in the road and took the right one. Cathar, for your penance….Three Hail Mary’s and two Our Fathers.

  6. Only 2 Our Fathers, Paz? Then I really am slipping.
    But, Spiro T., of course I care about baseball. It is, after all, a somewhat more red-bloodedly American sport than soccer.
    My favorite Steinbrenner image was the way the sports cartoonist in the Daily News drew him, in a “spiked” Stahlhelm-type WWI helmet, tagged as “General von Steingrabber” and speaking in the balloons in a broad German accent.
    At least the guy died in bed, with some who professed to love him around him. (Whereas Billy Martin’s end was squalid, alcoholic and forever shall be associated with the otherwise lazy reveries of a pleasant Christmas afternoon.)
    I still think Yogi was being overly kind, thus look forward to nore realistic assessments of his and Steinbrenner’s relationship and careers tomorrow morning in the wonderful sports pages of the NY Post (as opposed to here on Baristanet which of late specializes in excessive verbal daintiness and is surely no place to find editorial grit on this issue).

  7. actually, as i recall, billy martin died the same day that nicolae and elena ceausescu were killed by a justifiably enraged populace.
    I remember remarking to a friend, “today a terrible and irrational tyrant died. oh, and they shot the ceausescues, too.”

  8. My earlier post, deleted by Ms. Creasy, opined that the deaths of two friends in such close succession might have a deleterious effect on those who were close to them.
    I also wondered who number 3 would be given the old saw that famous people die in ‘threes’.
    Steinbrenner was a complex man and his constant meddling with the team was a source of distraction and I think caused more harm than good. He was a convicted felon, banned from baseball 2 times, but he was also a generous philanthropist who helped many people, so I figure when he meets ‘the old man with the telescope’ he’ll be waved on in to take a seat in a white marble baseball stadium with an impossibly green infield and outfield with all the former greats, in their prime, playing the game that suffuses every heart with a sense of promise and joy.

  9. I don’t follow baseball at all (can’t stand the game personally) but how can you avoid knowing about George Steinbrenner if you live in the NY metro area? The man was complex and imperfect, but aren’t we all?

  10. The Seinfeld parodies were great. The one that comes to mind is the one where George was hiding under the desk…I still laugh out loud when I watch Seinfeld reruns.

  11. It just seems to me that if Yogi forgave him 11 years ago, that oughta’ be good enough for the rest of us, at least so far as Yogi is concerned

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