Berra whipped around in his seat. "Hey Linz," he said. "Go stick that harmonica in your ear."
Linz didn't quite hear him. He leaned forward and asked Mickey Mantle, "What did Yogi say?"
"He said to play it louder," Mantle said.
When Linz complied, Berra leapt to his feet and barreled down the aisle shouting, "Now I'm gonna stick it in your ear."
Linz tossed the harmonica at Berra, who flung it back. The instrument struck Joe Pepitone's knee. Pepitone fell to the floor. "Oh my god," he screamed. "I'll sue him! He broke my knee! Get a medic! My knee, my knee!"
The next day Berra fined Linz $200. The day after that Hohner offered Linz a $5,000 contract to endorse its line of harmonicas.
His recital stirred up a complacent team. The Yanks won 30 of their next 43 games—and the pennant. When Linz signed a new contract the next winter, general manager Ralph Houk tossed in a $200 bonus.
"For harmonica lessons," Houk said.
A LITTLE TRAVELING MUSIC, PLEASE
In bus roadeos, the contestants wrestle steering wheels, not steers, and no one has ever been impaled on a bus horn. Still, R.J. Zuzworsky claims that the 40-foot, 13-ton city bus he drives in New York is as fractious as any bucking bronc.