GOODBYE, YOGI BERRA
(P1) Yogi Berra, one of the great CATCHERS in the history of baseball, died Tuesday at 90.
(P3) Berra died of NATURAL CAUSES at his home in New Jersey, according to Dave Kaplan. Kaplan is director of the Yogi Berra Museum, in Little Falls, New Jersey. The all-star athlete played in more World Series games than any other major leaguer, and was a three-time American League MOST VALUABLE PLAYER. “It ain’t over ’til it’s over” is one of his more popular sayings.
(P4) “When I’m sittin’ down to dinner with the family, stuff just pops out. And they’ll say, ‘Dad, you just said another one.’ And I don’t even know what I said,” Berra insisted.
(P5) Lawrence Peter Berra was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 12, 1925. He was the son of Pietro, a laborer in a brickyard, and Pauline Berra. He grew up in “The Hill,” the city’s Italian neighborhood, with three older brothers and a younger sister. Berra was forced to drop out of school in the eighth grade and go to work to help support his family. He took jobs in a coal yard, as a truck driver, and in a shoe factory. He continued to play amateur baseball, which brought him to the attention of major league scouts.
(P6) Berra got his nickname while growing up in St. Louis. Among his amateur baseball teammates was Jack McGuire, another future big leaguer. “Some of us went to a movie with a yogi in it and afterwards Jack began calling me Yogi. It stuck,” Berra told the Saturday Evening Post. A yogi is a person who practices YOGA.
(P7) Berra was rejected by his hometown St. Louis Cardinals after a TRYOUT in 1943. In 1944, Berra served on a gunboat supporting the D-DAY INVASION during World War II. After the war, a Yankees scout saw Berra’s potential and signed him. He reached the majors late in the 1946 season and played for the Yankees until 1963. His teammates included fellow Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Whitey Ford. After his playing days, Berra coached or managed the Yankees, New York Mets, and Houston Astros.
(P8) Berra was a fan favorite, especially with children, and the cartoon character YOGI BEAR was named after him.
(P9) Berra married his wife, Carmen, in 1949. The couple met in their native St. Louis. Carmen died in 2014. Yogi is survived by their three sons: Dale Berra, a major league infielder, who briefly played for his father on the Yankees in 1985; Tim, who played one season for the NFL’s Baltimore Colts; and Lawrence Jr.
(P10) Berra published three books: his autobiography, in 1961; Yogi: It Ain’t Over . . ., in 1989; and The Yogi Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said! in 1998. The last made the New York Times bestseller list.
(P11) In 1996, Berra was awarded an HONORARY DOCTORATE DEGREE from the state university in Montclair, New Jersey, where he and his family lived. The university also named its baseball stadium for Berra. The Yogi Berra Museum opened in 1998. It houses Berra MEMORABILIA.
(P12) Berra, who played in 15 straight All-Star Games, died on the same date, September 22, as his big-league DEBUT 69 years earlier. In a statement released by the museum, Berra’s family expressed their sadness. “While we MOURN the loss of our father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, we know he is at peace with Mom,” Berra’s family stated. “We celebrate his remarkable life, and are thankful he meant so much to so many. He will truly be missed.”
(P13) True to his SENSE OF HUMOR, his wife once asked Berra where he wanted to be buried when he died: St. Louis, New York, or Montclair. “I don’t know,” he said. “Why don’t you surprise me?”
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Do you enjoy baseball, or are there other sports you like better?
- Who are the most famous athletes from your country?
- Who is the funniest person you have ever met?
- Yogi Berra was one of those people that everyone seems to like. Have you ever known someone like that?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Natural causes
- Honorary degree
- Sense of humor