Lovable Baseball lifer Yogi Berra died this week. He was not only a Baseball legend but also a world-famous pop-culture icon. To today’s generation, he is better known for his contributions to the lexicon of America. Every one of us, at one time or another, has dispensed one of his pearls of slightly skewed wisdom…whether we were aware of it or not. The English language (or, more specifically, the American language) is much more colorful due to his malapropisms, better known as Yogisms. His brilliant butchery of the spoken word had much method to its madness. His linguistic “mistakes” struck a chord with their ring of truth. He is probably the most oft-quoted (and mis-quoted) American since Thomas Jefferson. There is a certain folksy wisdom in his words. One could argue that through his "mistakes", he made our language much more perfectly imperfect, and therefore much more human. So, in tribute to Yogi, I have decided to do a Top 5 list of my favorite Yogisms. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” => This has always been my favorite Yogi quote. It sounds ridiculous, but when you think about it, he really has a point here.
2. “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” => The Zen of Yogi. You know what he meant to say. But somehow, the slightly off way he says it gives it a greater depth of meaning.
3. “The future ain’t what it used to be.” => On the surface, this one seems nonsensical. But in reality there is a lot of truth to it. You just have to look at it from a slightly different perspective.
4. “Baseball is 90% physical. The other half is mental.” => This one is often misquoted, but in any form it epitomizes the Yogism. It doesn’t make sense at face value, but it rings 110% true.
5. “I really didn’t say everything I said” => This one could (should) have been the title of his autobiography, but was instead used as the subtitle for a book of Yogisms.
I could have made this a Top 10 list and I still would have agonized over the ones I left off. In any case, Yogi, we will miss you. And I’ll leave you with one more Yogism…call it an honorable mention.
“You should always go to other people’s funerals. Otherwise they won’t go to yours.”
You needn’t have worried, Yogi.