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Jackie Robinson About Jackie Robinson In a time when baseball was ruled by a strict color line, Jackie Robinson bravely agreed to be the first to integrate the major leagues. Although he faced hostility from white fans, baseball players, and even teammates, Robinson never buckled under the pressure. For nearly ten years he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and when he finally retired, he refused to remain silent on the issue of civil rights. Until the end of his life, Jackie Robinson never gave up his dream of equality for blacks.

John "Jackie" Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. In 1920, his family moved to Pasadena, California. After graduating from John Muir Technical High School, Robinson attended Pasadena Community College. He went on to transfer to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1940. While at UCLA, Robinson played baseball, football, basketball, and track. In 1942, Robinson was drafted into the Army. He served in Kansas and Texas, and eventually became a second lieutenant. While serving in Fort Hood, Texas, Robinson refused to obey an order to move to the back of an army bus. Because this was a violation of Army regulations, a court martial heard the matter; Robinson was acquitted.

When Robinson left the Army in 1944, he wanted to play baseball. At the time, baseball teams were segregated, and had been since 1887. Therefore, African American baseball players played in Latin America and in the Negro Leagues. Not unlike other African American players, Robinson also joined the Negro Leagues. He began playing for the Kansas City Monarchs.

Robinson's career in the Negro Leagues was short. In 1945, Branch Rickey, the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, requested a meeting with Robinson. Rickey wanted to integrate the major leagues and was looking for a player who could withstand the hostility that would come. After determining that Robinson was the perfect candidate, he asked him to first play for the minor league team, the Montreal Royals. On October 23, 1945, it became official when Robinson signed a contract with the team.

Although Robinson had a successful year with the Royals, he was close to having a nervous breakdown by the end of the season. Notwithstanding his nerves, Robinson�s time with the Montreal Royals led to his April 1947 signing with the Dodgers. As expected, his entrance into the major leagues was not without controversy. Some white fans were hostile, while others were enthusiastic. Regardless of the reaction, Robinson excelled on the team. For the first few years he did not respond to the insults, but he began speaking out against racism in 1949. He attacked the Jim Crow laws in the South and spoke out in support of the desegregation of Southern hotels and ballparks.

In 1947, The Sporting News, which had initially been opposed to the integration of the major leagues, awarded him its first Rookie of the Year Award. Robinson was also the recipient of numerous other awards and honors; in 1949, he was also awarded the National League�s Most Valuable Player, he received the Spingarn Medal in 1956, and he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

In 1957, Robinson retired. With his newfound freedom to speak out on behalf of African Americans, Robinson did not shy away from the public spotlight. He supported integration, was an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and he was a participant in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

In addition to his activism, Robinson served as vice-president of personnel at Chock Full O' Nuts from 1957 to 1964. Robinson died of a heart attack in Stamford, Connecticut on October 24, 1972.

Joe Di Maggio About Joe Di Maggio Giuseppe Paolo (Joe) DiMaggio Jr. was born on November 24, 1914. He was the son of Italian immigrant parents. He grew up in the San Francisco, California, area with his four brothers and four sisters. All eleven DiMaggios lived in a small, four-room house. His father fished for crabs and his sons helped him when they were old enough. Joe did not like fishing, and he always found ways to avoid going out to sea with his father and brothers or to avoid cleaning the catch when the boat came home.

At the age of seventeen DiMaggio started to play minor league baseball with the San Francisco Seals. One of his older brothers was playing on that team and recommended Joe for a position. Joe started with a salary of $250 a month. He became a Bay Area celebrity in 1933 when he got hits in sixty-one consecutive games, an all-time record for the league. His batting average (the percentage of time that a batter gets a hit) was .340 and he batted in 169 runs.

A year later DiMaggio hit .341, and the New York Yankees purchased his contract for twenty-five thousand dollars and five minor league players. DiMaggio's debut (start) in centerfield with the Yankees was delayed because of an injury. When he appeared on the field for the first time, on May 3, 1936, twenty-five thousand cheering, flag-waving, Italian residents of New York showed up to welcome him to the team.

"Joltin' Joe, the Yankee Clipper" By 1936 DiMaggio was known as "Joltin' Joe" for the power of his batting and "The Yankee Clipper" after the ships built for speed that crossed the Atlantic Ocean. He led the league with a career-high of 46 home runs. Over the term of his career DiMaggio hit 361 home runs. He placed fifth on the major league all-time home run list when he retired in 1951. In 1937 DiMaggio batted an impressive .346, driving in 167 runs. The next season DiMaggio hit .324, followed in 1939 with a .381. This gave him his first batting championship and won him the league's Most Valuable Player award. Late in the 1939 season DiMaggio was hitting at a .412 pace, but eye trouble kept him from staying above the .400 mark.

During the 1940 season, DiMaggio captured his second consecutive batting title with a .352, but for the first time since he had joined the Yankees his team failed to win the pennant (the league championship). However,

DiMaggio began a fifty-six-game hitting streak starting on May 15, 1941. He got a hit in every game he played until July 17, 1941. In between he hit .406, and fans all over the country anxiously checked each game day to see if the Yankee Clipper had kept his streak going. People crowded into the ballpark, radio programs were interrupted for "DiMag" bulletins, the U.S. Congress designated a page boy to rush DiMaggio bulletins to the floor, and newspaper switchboards lit up every afternoon with the question of the day, "Did DiMaggio get his hit?" Two pitchers on the Cleveland Indians ended his hitting streak on July 17, but after that game he started another hitting streak that went on for seventeen games.

In 1941 DiMaggio won his second Most Valuable Player award. Like the rest of the people in the country, he also began to feel the pressure of a nation readying itself for war. World War II lasted from 1939 until 1945. During that time the Axis (Germany, Italy, and Japan) tried to gain control of the world, but the Allies (the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and France) defeated them. During the 1942 season DiMaggio batted .305, but he was drafted into the army along with thousands of other young men.

DiMaggio spent three years in the Army and returned to professional baseball in 1946. That season was a disappointment�he batted only .290�but by 1947 he was back in form, hitting .315. That year he won his third Most Valuable Player award and led his team to the pennant.

Aided by New York City newspapers, radio, and television, as well as his own powerful statistics, DiMaggio became a national hero after the war. Even people who did not like the Yankees liked Joe. In 1948 DiMaggio had returned to the height of this form, winning the home run title with 39, the RBI (runs batted in) crown with 155, and the batting title with a .320 average. DiMaggio sat out the first two months of the 1949 season with problems in his heel, but, as always, his return was memorable. In 1949 he became the American League's first player to earn $100,000.

DiMaggio played in pain during his first games for new manager Casey Stengel (1890�1975), but he hit four home runs in three games and helped the Yankees bring home another pennant. In 1951, with another soon-to-be Yankee superstar, young Mickey Mantle, on the scene, DiMaggio's average slipped to .263 with only twelve home runs.

DiMaggio announced his retirement in 1952 when he was thirty-seven. He turned down another $100,000 contract for that year. This would have been his fourth contract of this size in a row. DiMaggio said, "When baseball is no longer fun, it's no longer a game." The Yankees honored him by retiring his uniform number, number five. This means that no Yankee baseball player will ever wear that number again.

After DiMaggio retired he hosted television shows shown before baseball games, made television commercials, and was briefly married to the Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe (1926�1962). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955, named the "Greatest Living Player" in 1969 in a poll of sportswriters, and was named as a member of the All-Century Team in 1999.

Joe DiMaggio died at his home in Hollywood, Florida, on March 8, 1999. He was always a modest man and always worked to play his best game even when faced with health problems. Joe DiMaggio is remembered as an inspiration not only for sports fans, but for all people.

Mickey Mantle About Mickey Mantle Mickey Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma. He was named in honor of Mickey Cochrane, the Hall of Fame catcher from the Detroit Tigers, by his father, who was an amateur player and fervent fan. Apparently his father was not aware that Cochrane's real first name was Gordon; in later life, Mickey expressed relief that his father had not known this, as he would have hated to be named Gordon. Mantle always spoke warmly of his father and said he was the bravest man he ever knew. "No boy ever loved his father more," he said. Sadly, his father died of cancer at the age of 39, just as his son was starting his career. Mantle said one of the great heartaches of his life was that he never told his father he loved him.

When Mantle was 4 years old, the family moved to the nearby town of Commerce, Oklahoma. Mantle was an all-around athlete at Commerce High School, playing basketball and football (he was offered a football scholarship by the University of Oklahoma) in addition to his first love, baseball. His football playing nearly ended his athletic career, and indeed his life. Kicked in the shin during a game, Mantle's leg soon became infected with osteomyelitis, a crippling disease that would have been incurable just a few years earlier. A midnight ride to Tulsa, Oklahoma enabled Mantle to be treated with newly available penicillin, saving his leg from amputation. He suffered from the effects of the disease for the rest of his life, and it probably led to many other injuries that hampered his accomplishments. Additionally, Mantle's osteomyelitic condition exempted him from military service, which caused him to become very unpopular with fans, as his earliest days in baseball coincided with the Korean War (though he was still selected as an all-star the year his medical exemption was given, and was known as the "fastest man to first base.") This unpopularity, mainly with older fans, dramatically reversed after he finished second to Roger Maris in the pursuit of Babe Ruth's home run record in 1961. He spent the last years of his career as a wildly popular icon of the sport.

Elvin "Mutt" Mantle taught his son how to be a switch-hitter. Mickey had played shortstop in the minor leagues. His first semi-professional team was the Baxter Springs (Kan.) Whiz Kids. In 1948, Yankees' scout Tom Greenwade came to Baxter Springs to watch Mickey's teammate, third baseman Billy Johnson, in a Whiz Kids game. During the game Mickey hit two homers, one righty and one lefty, into a river well past the ballpark's fences. Greenwade wanted to sign Mickey on the spot but, upon finding out that he was only 16 and still in high school, told him he would come back to sign him with the Yankees on his graduation day in 1949. Good to his word, Greenwade was there right on schedule, signing Mickey to a minor-league contract with the Yankees Class D team in Independence, Kan. Mickey signed for $400 to play the remainder of the season with an $1,100 signing bonus. It was one of the great steals in baseball history. Tom Greenwade was quoted in the press release announcing Mickey's signing as saying that Mickey was the best prospect he'd ever seen.

On arrival at the Yankees, he became the regular right fielder (playing only a few games at shortstop and third base in 1952 to 1955). He moved to center field in 1952, replacing Joe DiMaggio, who retired at the end of the 1951 season after one year playing alongside Mantle in the Yankees outfield. He played center field until 1967, when he was moved to first base. Among Mantle's many accomplishments are all-time World Series records for home runs (18), runs scored (42), and runs batted in (40). Mantle also hit some of the longest home runs in Major League history. On September 10, 1960, he hit a ball left-handed that cleared the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium in Detroit and, based on where it was found, was estimated years later by historian Mark Gallagher to have traveled 643 feet (196 m). Another Mantle homer, this one hit right-handed at Griffith Stadium in Washington on April 17, 1953, was measured by Yankees traveling secretary Red Patterson (hence the term "tape-measure home run") to have traveled 565 feet (172 m). Though it is apparent that they are actually the distances where the balls ended up after bouncing several times [1], there is no doubt that they both landed more than 500 feet (152 m) from home plate. At least twice Mantle hit balls off the third-deck facade at Yankee Stadium in attempts to become the only player to hit a fair ball out of the stadium. His last effort was on May 22, 1963, against Kansas City's Bill Fischer. Fellow players and fans noted that ball was still rising when it hit the 110-foot high facade, then caromed back onto the playing field. It was later "guesstimated" that the ball would have traveled 620 feet had it not been impeded by the ornate and distinctive facade.

Although he was a feared power hitter from either side of the plate, Mantle considered himself a better right-handed hitter even though he had more home runs from the left side of the plate. However, it should be noted that there are more right-handed pitchers than left-handed ones, so a preponderance of his at bats were from the left side of the plate. In addition, many of his left-handed home runs were struck at Yankee Stadium, a park that was, and is, notoriously friendly to left-handed hitters and brutal on right-handed hitters. When Mantle played for the Yankees, the distance to the right-field foul pole stood at a mere 296 feet (90 m), while the left-field power alley was a distant 457 feet (139 m) from the plate.

In 1956, Mantle won the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year. This was his "favorite summer," a year that saw him win the Triple Crown, leading the majors with a .353 batting average, 52 HR and 130 RBI on the way to his first of three MVP awards. Though the American League Triple Crown has been won twice since then, Mantle remains the last man to win the Major League Triple Crown.

Mantle may have been even more dominant in 1957, leading the league in runs and walks, batting a career-high .365 (second in the league to Ted Williams' .388), and hitting into a league-low five double plays. Mantle reached base more times than he made outs (319 to 312), one of two seasons in which he achieved the feat.

On January 16, 1961, Mantle became the highest-paid baseball player by signing a $75,000 contract. DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg and Ted Williams, who had just retired, had been paid over $100,000 in a season, and Ruth had a peak salary of $80,000. But Mantle became the highest-paid active player of his time.

During the 1961 season, Mantle and teammate Roger Maris chased Babe Ruth's single season home-run record. Five years earlier, in 1956, Mantle had challenged Ruth's record for most of the season and the New York press had been protective of Ruth on that occasion also. When Mantle finally fell short, finishing with 52, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief from the New York traditionalists. Nor had the New York press been all that kind to Mantle in his early years with the team: he struck out frequently, was injury-prone, was a "true hick" from Oklahoma, and was perceived as being distinctly inferior to his predecessor in center field, Joe DiMaggio. Over the course of time, however, Mantle (with a little help from his teammate Whitey Ford, a native of New York's Borough of Queens) had gotten better at "schmoozing" with the New York media, and had gained the favor of the press. This was a talent that Maris, a blunt-spoken upper-Midwesterner, was never willing or able to cultivate; as a result, he wore the "surly" jacket for his duration with the Yankees. So as 1961 progressed, the Yanks were now "Mickey Mantle's team" and Maris was ostracized as the "outsider," and "not a true Yankee." The press seemed to root for Mantle and to belittle Maris. But Mantle was felled by an abscessed hip late in the season, leaving Maris to break the record.

Mantle announced his retirement on March 1, 1969, and in 1974, as soon as he was eligible, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; his uniform number 7 was retired by the Yankees. (He had briefly worn uniform number 6, as a continuation of Babe Ruth's 3, Lou Gehrig's 4, and Joe DiMaggio's 5, in 1951, but his poor performance led to his temporary demotion to a minor league in mid-season. When he returned, Bobby Brown, who had worn number 6 before Mantle, had reclaimed it, so Mantle was given number 7.) When he retired, the Mick was third on the all-time home run list with 536.

Despite being among the best-paid players of the pre-free agency era, Mantle was a poor businessman, having made several unlucky investments. His lifestyle would be restored to one of luxury, and his hold on his fans raised to an amazing level, by his position of leadership in the sports memorabilia craze that swept the USA beginning in the 1980s. Mantle was a prize guest at any baseball card show, commanding fees far in excess of any other player for his appearances and autographs. This popularity continues long after his death, as Mantle-related items far outsell those of any other player except possibly the unmatched Babe Ruth, whose items, due to the distance of years, now exist in far smaller quantities.

Nonetheless the failure of Mickey Mantle's Country Cookin' restaurants in the early 1970s, Mickey Mantle's Restaurant & Sports Bar opened in New York at 42 Central Park South (59th Street) in 1988. It became one of New York's most popular restaurants, and his original Yankee Stadium Monument Park plaque is displayed at the front entrance. Mantle let others run the business operations, but made frequent appearances. But his drinking led radio show host Don Imus to joke, "If you get to Mickey Mantle's restaurant after midnight, you win a free dinner if you can guess which table Mickey's under."

In 1983, Mantle worked at the Claridge Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., as a greeter and community representative. Most of his activities were representing the Claridge in golf tournaments and other charity events. Mantle was suspended from baseball by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn on the grounds that any affiliation with gambling is grounds for being placed on the "permanently ineligible" list. Kuhn warned Mantle before he accepted the position that he would have to place him on the list if he went to work there. Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who had also taken a similar position, had already had action taken against him. Mantle accepted the position, regardless, as he felt the rule was "stupid." He was reinstated on March 18, 1985, by Kuhn's successor, Peter Ueberroth.

On December 23, 1951, he married Merlyn Johnson in their hometown of Commerce, Oklahoma; they had four sons. In an autobiography, Mantle said he married Merlyn not because he loved her, but because his domineering father told him to. While his drinking became public knowledge during his lifetime, the press kept his many marital infidelities quiet.

The couple had four children, all sons: Mickey Jr. (born in 1953), David (1955), Billy (1957, whom Mickey named for Billy Martin, his best friend among his Yankee teammates) and Danny (1960). Like Mickey, Merlyn and the sons all became alcoholics, and Billy developed Hodgkin's disease as several previous Mantle men had. This led to him developing a dependence on prescription painkillers.

Mickey Mantle has four grandchildren. Mickey Jr. had a daughter, Mallory. David and his wife Marla have a daughter, Marilyn. Danny and his wife Kay have a son, Will, and a daughter, Chloe. Danny and Will played a father and son watching Mickey, played by Thomas Jane, hit a home run in the 2001 film "61*."

Mickey and Merlyn had been separated for 15 years when he died, but neither ever filed for divorce. Mantle lived with his agent, Greer Johnson. Johnson was taken to federal court in November 1997 by the Mantle family to stop her from auctioning many of Mantle's personal items, including a lock of hair, a neck brace and expired credit cards.

During the final years of his life, Mantle purchased a luxury condominium on Lake Oconee near Greensboro, Ga., near Greer Johnson's home, and frequently stayed there for months at the time. He occasionally attended the local Methodist church, and sometimes ate Sunday dinner with members of the congregation. He was well-liked by the citizens of Greensboro, and seemed to like them in return. This was probably because the town respected Mantle's privacy, refusing either to talk about their famous neighbor to outsiders or to direct fans to his home. In one interview, Mickey stated that the people of Greensboro had "gone out of their way to make me feel welcome, and I've found something there I haven't enjoyed since I was a kid."

Well before he finally sought treatment for alcoholism, Mantle admitted that his hard living had hurt his playing and his family. His rationale was that the men in his family had all died young, so he expected to as well. "I'm not gonna be cheated," he would say. As the years passed, and he realized he had outlived the men in his family not realizing that working in mines and inhaling lead and zinc dust aided Hodgkin's and other cancers as much as heredity did � he frequently used a line popularized by football legend Bobby Layne, a Dallas neighbor and friend of Mantle's who also died in part due to alcohol abuse: "If I'd known I was gonna live this long, I'd have taken a lot better care of myself."

Mantle's wife and sons all completed treatment for alcoholism, and told him he needed to do the same. He checked into the Betty Ford Clinic on January 7, 1994, after being told by a doctor that his liver was so badly damaged, "Your next drink could be your last." Also helping Mantle to make the decision to go to the Betty Ford Clinic was Pat Summerall, a sportscaster who had played for the New York Giants football team while they played at Yankee Stadium, and was now a recovering alcoholic and a member of the same Dallas-area country club as Mantle.

Shortly after completing treatment, his son Billy died on March 12, at age 36, of heart trouble, brought on by years of substance abuse. Despite the fears of those who knew him that this tragedy would send him back to drinking, he remained sober. Mickey Jr. died of liver cancer on December 20, 2000, at age 47. Danny later battled prostate cancer.

Mantle spoke with great remorse of his drinking in a "Sports Illustrated" article, "My Life In A Bottle." He said that he was telling the same old stories, and realizing how much of them involved himself and others being drunk, and he decided they weren't funny anymore. He admitted he had often been cruel and hurtful to family, friends and fans because of his alcoholism, and sought to make amends. He became a born-again Christian due to his former teammate Bobby Richardson, an ordained Baptist minister, sharing his faith with him. After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, he joined with fellow Oklahoman and Yankee legend Bobby Murcer to raise money for the victims.

Mantle received a liver transplant at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, on June 8, 1995, after his liver had been damaged by years of chronic alcoholism, cirrhosis and hepatitis C. In July, he had recovered enough to deliver a press conference at Baylor, and noted that many fans had looked to him as a role model. "This is a role model: Don't be like me," he said. He also established the Mickey Mantle Foundation to raise awareness for organ donations. Soon, he was back in the hospital, where it was found that his liver cancer spread throughout his body.

Mickey Mantle died on August 13, 1995, at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He was 63 years old. During the first Yankee home game after Mantle's passing, Eddie Layton played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on the Hammond organ at Yankee Stadium because Mickey had once told him it was his favorite song. The Yankees played the rest of the season with black mourning bands topped by a small number 7 on their left sleeves. The first play of the game, a Yankee win over the Cleveland Indians, resulted in Kenny Lofton, a center fielder who wore number 7, flying out to the 1995 Yankee center fielder, Bernie Williams.

Mantle was interred in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas. In eulogizing Mantle, sportscaster Bob Costas described him as "a fragile hero to whom we had an emotional attachment so strong and lasting that it defied logic." Costas added: "In the last year of his life, Mickey Mantle, always so hard on himself, finally came to accept and appreciate the distinction between a role model and a hero. The first, he often was not. The second, he always will be. And, in the end, people got it."

On Mickey Mantle Day, June 8, 1969, in addition to the retirement of his uniform number 7, Mantle was given a plaque that would hang on the center field wall at Yankee Stadium, near the monuments to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Miller Huggins. The plaque was given to him by Joe DiMaggio, and Mantle then gave DiMaggio a similar plaque, telling the crowd, "His should be just a little bit higher than mine." When Yankee Stadium was reopened in 1976 following its renovation, the plaques and monuments were moved to Monument Park, behind the left-center field fence. Shortly before his death, Mantle videotaped a message to be played on Old-Timers' Day, which he was too ill to attend. He said, "When I die, I wanted on my tombstone, 'A great teammate.' But I didn't think it would be this soon." The words were indeed carved on the plaque marking his resting place at the family mausoleum in Dallas. On August 25, 1996, about a year after his death, Mantle's Monument Park plaque was replaced with a monument, bearing the words "A great teammate" and keeping a phrase that had been included on the original plaque: "A magnificent Yankee who left a legacy of unequaled courage."

Mantle and former teammate Whitey Ford were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame together in 1974, Mantle in his first year of eligibility, Ford in his second. In 1999, "The Sporting News" placed Mantle at 17th on its list "The 100 Greatest Baseball Players." That same year, he was one of 100 nominees for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, and was chosen by fan balloting as one of the team's outfielders. While most fans who remember them both tend to rate Willie Mays as a better player than Mantle, Mantle remains the most popular player of the 1950s and 1960s, even as Mays, Hank Aaron and others outlived him by many years. ESPN's "SportsCentury" series that ran in 1999 ranked him No. 37 on its "50 Greatest Athletes" series. His biography, which debuted on May 7, 1999, has since been replayed on ESPN's sister channel ESPN Classic.

In 2006, Mantle was featured on a United States postage stamp [2]. The stamp is one of a series of four honoring baseball sluggers, the others being Mel Ott, Roy Campanella and Hank Greenberg.

Yogi Berra About Yogi Berra born May 12, 1925, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.) American professional baseball player, manager, and coach who established records (all since broken) for catchers of his era; he held the records for most home runs hit while playing in the position of catcher (313), most consecutive errorless games (148), and most consecutive chances handled (950; a chance constitutes any play in which a player can make a put out, an assist, or an error; when a chance is handled, either a put out or an assist is the result). As a boy in the Italian district of St. Louis, Missouri, Berra played softball, baseball, soccer, football, and roller hockey. He first played organized baseball with a YMCA team and later played American Legion baseball. He batted left-handed and, like most catchers, threw right-handed (the traditional reason for right-handed catchers predominating being that because most batters are right-handed and therefore stand to the left of home plate, a left-handed catcher is blocked from throwing out base runners). In 1942 he signed a contract with the American League New York Yankees. After a season in the minor leagues, he served in the United States Navy during World War II (194346) and played minor league baseball again in 1946. He moved up to the New York Yankees toward the end of the 1946 season and played with them as their regular catcher through 1963. Because Berra's catching was erratic, he played mostly in the outfield until 1949. His defensive and offensive playing then improved; he hit 20 or more home runs a season through 1958. He was named the American League's Most Valuable Player, an honour seldom bestowed on catchers, in 1951, 1954, and 1955. He played in 14 World Series (1947, 1949-53, 1955-58, and 1960-63), catching in more series games (75) than any other catcher. He hit a home run in his first World Series appearance; he hit 12 World Series home runs in all.

After retiring as a player, Berra managed the Yankees in 1964, winning the pennant and losing the World Series, and was fired. He was a coach for the New York Mets in the National League (1965-72) and then became team manager (1972�75). Thereafter he was a coach with the Yankees until 1983, when he was once again made their manager. He was fired during the 1985 season. Berra was one of the few men to manage pennant winners in both leagues, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

Berra was well known for amusing non sequiturs that are termed Yogi-isms. Examples include statements such as �It's d�j� vu all over again, "You can observe a lot by watching,and �Baseball is 90 percent mental, the other half is physical.�

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