The third day of golf was the best yet. Everyone was relaxed and playing better, including 13-handicap Yogi Berra. But, as it happened, he and Eddie Marck were matched with two of the best golfers of the group, John Mahmarian and John Ravaschio. Yogi and his partner were soundly beaten. John Ravaschio was the star of the match with a 76 that included some shots that would have done credit to Nicklaus or Palmer. He came off the 18th green enormously pleased with himself, although he tried hard to dwell modestly on a couple of bad shots. A sudden inspiration came to Yogi Berra and his friends. They decided that Ravaschio was ripe for "a tank job," a frame-up in which his own partner would do everything he could to throw the match and the gallery would cooperate by every evil means possible. Yogi and Cullere challenged Ravaschio and Mahmarian (who was, of course, in on the joke) to a nine-hole match for an $800 side bet. Ravaschio, flushed with success, didn't hesitate an instant. They teed off immediately.
With everyone conspiring against Ravaschio, it seemed reasonably certain that Yogi and Mickey would win. But despite everything, Ravaschio was hotter than ever. Golf carts raced ahead of him, and his ball was kicked into the rough or a sand trap. They beat him to the green and moved his ball away from the cup. His partner putted atrociously. When Ravaschio putted, half the gallery was seized with coughing fits and the other half jammed the brakes on their golf carts. On the 9th tee it was getting dark and, by the time the foursome reached the green, Ravaschio had only the moonlight as he holed out for a 37.
The gag was revealed back in the suite at the Carolina after everyone had a drink in hand. Attorney Frank Murphy paid eloquent tribute to Ravaschio's golfing prowess, described him glowingly as a sportsman and a gentleman. Murphy concluded by saying, "Finally, my dear John, I must tell you that you have been had, you have been in the tank—we were all in on it—and, dear friend, you do not get $800. You do not get a dime. Gentlemen, let us drink to John Ravaschio!" The victim, who knew all about tank jobs, shook his head and said, "I only got suspicious once. Remember when I said, 'Who am I playing with—the Marx Brothers?' "
"Ah, yes," said Attorney Murphy. "That worried us for a minute. We thought you were wise." Murphy raised his glass and drank deeply. He was obviously pleased with his little speech. Immediately, there was a huddle at the far end of the toom. It was agreed: Attorney Murphy would be cut down to size—he would be framed at gin rummy that very night.
Early next evening, Yogi Berra stood on the veranda of the Carolina. He was asked about his immediate schedule after Pinehurst.
"First," he said, "I'm going to sit down with Ralph Houk and go over the roster and see what players we want to take to the early camp and talk about some good prospects we've got at Richmond and some of the other farms. I'll spend all the time I can with my family. Then on November 18 I got to go to Dallas for the Yoo Hoo convention. [Yogi is vice-president of the Yoo Hoo company, which makes a chocolate drink.] Yoo Hoo is going very good, we ought to sell 2 million cases this year. Well, then it won't be long before the minor league meetings in San Diego and the major league meetings in Los Angeles. I got to make some trips out with the Yankee Caravan. We'll go around Connecticut and New Jersey."
"Does that mean speech making?"
"No. I can't make speeches yet. But getting up answering questions about baseball, I don't mind that. Actually, I kind of like it. There's nothing tough about answering questions when you know what you're talking about."
And the golfing blacksmith knows his baseball.