They used to say about Yogi Berra that the only way to pitch to him was to throw the ball under the plate! He was a guy who would go after any pitch,no matter where it was, if he felt he could get a piece of it, and more often than not he would get at least a double. Ted Williams once described Yogi’s hand-eye coordination as the best he’d ever seen, which certainly accounted for this.
As a catcher, Yogi was one of the very best at handling pitchers. He knew his batterymates as nobody else could; he knew who just needed a steadying hand and who often needed a good goosing to get him going. I remember how he would get on Vic Raschi to get him fired up, yelling “Come on, Onionhead, is that as hard as you can throw it?”—which usually worked. He was easier on Allie Reynolds, perhaps because he knew about the Chief’s medical problem—Reynolds was a diabetic and often said he had the “classic Indian disease”—and so never pushed harder than he had to. He never said two words to Ed Lopat—maybe four, those being “You pitch, I’ll catch”—just settled in behind the plate and caught the crafty lefthander (with the proverbial Kleenex,maybe). And of course, there was that never-to-be-forgotten afternoon, October 8, 1956, when he caught Don Larsen’s perfect game—something I will never forget because I was one of those 64,519 in attendance who were there and who saw all 97 pitches.
One of a kind. He will be very sorely missed.
Goddess of the Slider