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Yogi Berra Eternal Yankee

2009 non-fiction book by Allen Barra

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The proposition that Yogi Berra is the greatest catcher who ever lived!

  • Jan 10, 2009
  • by
Yogi Berra had ten World Series rings, eighteen All-Star selections, three Most Valuable Player awards, pages of World Series records, and the most homers and RBI's ever at his position. He had caught three no-hitters, one a perfect game in a World Series."

This quotation, lifted from page 333 of Allen Barra's impressive new biography "Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee" only begins to sum up the case that Barra makes throughout the book that it is indeed Lawrence "Yogi" Berra who was the greatest catcher who ever played the game.  Frankly, the more statistical evidence you consider and the more accolades you hear from former teammates, opponents, writers and broadcasters it becomes mighty difficult to argue the point.  After reading "Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee" it is clear to me that Yogi Berra is not only the greatest catcher of all-time but one of the most gifted players to ever don a major league uniform.

Oddly enough "Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee" is really the first serious biography written about this extremely popular baseball Hall-of-Famer.  Allen Barra, author of the 2006 biography "The Last Coach: A Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant" does a workmanlike job of chronicling Yogi's fascinating life that began in "The Hill" section of St. Louis. Yogi Berra fell in love with the game of baseball at a very young age.  It was all he ever really wanted to do.  His best friend Joe Garigiola also loved the game and was a very talented catcher in his own right.  The boyhood buddies would both draw the attention of scouts and before long Joe signed with the hometown St. Louis Cardinals while Yogi inked a deal with the New York Yankees. In those days what young, untested players were offered to sign a first contract was measured in the hundreds not millions of dollars.

As was the case with so many other talented players in those days Yogi Berra's fast track to the big leagues was interrupted by World War II. Berra volunteered for the United States Navy.  He served in North Africa and Europe, participating in the D-Day landing in Normandy.  He continued to play baseball in the Navy after his reassignment to the United States.  Not long after his discharge from the military on May 6, 1946, Berra was assigned to the Yankees minor league team in New London, CT.  Just a few months later Yogi Berra was promoted to the New York Yankees where he would become a fixture for the next 17 seasons.  And when his playing days were finally over he would become a respected coach and major league manager.

What you will discover in the pages of "Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee" is just how much this man is respected and loved in the game of baseball.  It is simply mind-boggling how many awards this man won over the years and how many of baseball's legendary games he was a part of.  So while "Yogi Berra:  Eternal Yankee" certainly is a biography, it is also Allan Barra's carefully constructed case that Lawrence "Yogi" Berra is in fact the greatest catcher in this history of baseball.  It is true that reasonable men can disagree.  But I'm betting that after reading "Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee" you will come down squarely on the side of Allen Barra.

One personal note: I was born in July of 1951. Despite living in what is now known as Red Sox Nation my dad was a die hard Yankees fan.  Within days of coming home from the hospital my uncle stopped by to see my mom and the little bundle of joy.  His first comment when he saw me? "He's got feet like Yogi Berra!"  From that moment on friends and family have called me "Yogi".  As I have learned in the pages of "Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee" there are much worse people I could be named after.   Very highly recommended!
Yogi AB Yogi caricature

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May 21, 2009
Having been born in a different era, I am not in a position to judge. However, I remember alot of experts in the 60's and 70's that had seen both Dickey and Berra play had rated Dickey as overall better than Berra. I guess Berra's personality and World Series records, along with his managerial career make him more memorable.
More Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee reviews
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
Yogi Berra is such an individual. This book is all about him. Oh and the Yankees or yore.
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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this book


Allen Barra

Yogi Berra

The Eternal Yankee The gripping biography of the legendary Hall-of-Famer and one of the most quotable figures in American culture.

Yogi Berra is one of the most popular former athletes in American history, and the most quoted American since Abraham Lincoln. Part comedian, part feisty competitor, Berra is also the winningest player (fourteen pennants, ten World Series, three MVPs) in baseball history. In this revelatory biography, Allen Barra presents Yogi's remarkable life as never seen before, from his childhood in "Dago Hill," the Italian-American neighborhood in St. Louis, to his leading role on the 1949–53 Yankees, the only team to win five consecutive World Series, to the travails of the '64 pennant race, through his epic battles and final peace with George Steinbrenner. This biography, replete with nearly one hundred photos and countless "Yogi-isms," offers hilarious insights into many of baseball's greatest moments. From calling Don Larsen's perfect game to managing the 1973 "You Gotta Believe" New York Mets, Yogi's life and career are a virtual cutaway view of our national pastime in the twentieth century.

Allen Barra is the best-selling author of The Last Coach: A Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant. His writing appears regularly in the Wall Street Journal, the Village Voice, Playboy, Interview, and Salon. He lives in South Orange, New Jersey.

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ISBN-10: 0393062333 (hbk.)
ISBN-13: 9780393062335 (hbk.)
Author: Allen Barra
Genre: History of Sports
Publisher: W.W. Norton and Co.
Date Published: March 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
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