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Yogi Berra, baseball’s most quoted wordsmith, takes a fork in the road

Yogi Berra, May 12, 1925 to September 22, 2015

Yesterday, in the middle of a busy day, I learned that Yogi Berra had died on September 22nd. It brought my day to a screeching halt as memories of watching Yankee games with my father rolled over me, and tears suddenly filled my eyes.

My dad, who grew up in Brooklyn, loved baseball. But the Yankees, not the Dodgers, were his team. I’m sure he paid a heavy price for that affiliation.

In our little house on McDermitt St. in Memphis, the two of us sat on a couch in the tiniest “den” any family of six ever had, our feet literally a few inches from the television. It was the early 60’s and we often had to settle for watching the Cardinals, even when the Yankees were playing. Television broadcasting was more limited in those days, and I remember Dad trying to keep up with the Yankee game on the radio, while we watched the Cards on TV.

Yogi forkMy father had a well developed sense of humor, one thing all of us Loonan girls inherited from him. He loved Yogi Berra stories, and if they happened to contain a mention Mickey Mantle, even in passing, so much the better.

I actually seemed to hear Dad snort/laugh yesterday when I read Berra’s one-liner, “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”

Yogi didn’t make it to my dad’s funeral, but I still wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that Bob Loonan attended Yogi’s funeral anyway.

Yogi practice

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