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Male and female make a union and this complete union is the greatest yoga.
She wasn't the first girl I had ever asked out, she was the third, but I could hardly believe my luck when it turned out that she liked me as much as I liked her.
It's clear, in her 50th or so year, that Carmen Berra will always be a great-looking woman. She and Yogi met in 1947 when he was a budding Yankee and she was a waitress at Stan and Biggie's in St. Louis. "He was honest. And simple," she says. "Wasn't a show-off. I was dating a lot of college boys at the time and I liked him in contrast."
Her name was Carmen Short. "My family came from England in the 17th century," she says.
"Yeah," says Yogi. "She's got more aunts and uncles!"
At the time, Carmen's family wondered why she wanted to marry a "foreigner" and Yogi's why he wanted to marry an "Americano." But it has been a happy marriage, by all accounts, for 35 years.
When asked whether it's true that wise investments over the years have made him very comfortable financially, a near millionaire in fact, Yogi shrugs. "I don't know," he says. "You'll have to ask Carm." But hasn't he been a remarkably successful businessman? "Well," he says, "I guess I've got a smart wife. She's a, whattayacallit, an inquirer. Where I'd say, 'Yeah, go ahead,' she'll say 'Let's wait and look into it.' It's like with the furniture for the house. She's patient. She'll leave the room bare till she gets just the right thing."
Carmen serves on the board of a regional theater group, is on the committee that is working for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and stays on Yogi's case. "Carmen said if you chew tobacco today, forget it. You don't have anyplace to come home to," says a young blonde employee at Berra's racquetball center. "She knows you chewed this morning, Yogs."
They have raised three solid sons: Larry Jr., 35, who caught in the minor leagues until he hurt his left knee and is now in the flooring business; Tim, 32, who played one season as a wide receiver for the Baltimore Colts in 1974 and now oversees the operation of the racquet-ball center; and Dale, 27, who makes $600,000 a year playing shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Dale, who has always lived with his parents in the off-season, is about to follow his older brothers' example by getting married and buying a house not far from the New Jersey homestead. What with grandchildren and inlaws, there are as many as 17 people around the Berra table at Thanksgiving. Yogi carves.
When his boys were kids, Yogi says, "They'd try to get me to play ball with them, and I'd say, 'Go ask your brothers. I got to play.' " Otherwise, they say, he was a warm, normal father. And now they regard him with evident affection. Because he was already in Florida for spring training, Yogi couldn't make Dale's engagement party this February, but he telephoned his best wishes. After he hung up, Yogi said, "And Dale, you know, he's good. He's good. He said: 'I miss you.' "