As someone whose work is all about words, I love Yogi Berra. As someone who doesn’t always get my words right, I really love Yogi Berra. Yogi is a word-maker’s dream. Or, I should say, was. For Yogi Berra passed away this week at the age of 90.
Yogi was an accomplished baseball star, a catcher who won 10 World Series — appearing in 21 as either a player or a coach. He was on the receiving end of the only perfect game ever pitched in the World Series — Don Larsen’s 1956 gem. In 1972, Yogi was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
But Yogi was more than a baseball star; he was an American icon. Born in my hometown of St. Louis, he served his country in World War 2 — where he was a part of the D-Day invasion. He returned to the States after the war, and his baseball career quickly took off.
And so did his sayings. Some of what he said was unintentionally humorous, like:
- “Pair ’em up in threes.”
- On giving directions to his house: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
- On a restaurant in St. Louis: “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
- “If people don’t want to come to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?”
- “I wish I had the answer to that, because I’m tired of answering that question.” Yeah, me too.
- “You can observe a lot by watching.” So pay attention.
- “We made too many wrong mistakes.” Isn’t that the truth.
- “It ain’t over til it’s over.” Thank the Lord.
Like all good wordsmiths, Yogi was right, even when he sounded like he was wrong. Like Yogi, there are so many questions I wish I had the answer to — because they keep coming up. And I seem to keep making the same mistakes, especially the wrong ones. Which is why I am SO grateful that it ain’t over til it’s over. Because every day is a new day, a new opportunity for grace, and hope, and forgiveness, and love. And when it finally is over — when the 9th inning is played and the game is complete — there is Someone waiting at the end to receive us.
But then, I expect that a great catcher already knows all about Home.