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YOGI
Roy Blount Jr.
April 02, 1984
As a reincarnated Yankee skipper, Yogi Berra is working for George Steinbrenner. Is Yogi worried about longevity? No. He knows a managing job, like a ball game, ain't over 'til it's over
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April 02, 1984

Yogi

As a reincarnated Yankee skipper, Yogi Berra is working for George Steinbrenner. Is Yogi worried about longevity? No. He knows a managing job, like a ball game, ain't over 'til it's over

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Yoga consists in the stopping of spontaneous activities of the mind-stuff.
—YOGI PANTANJALI

How can you think and hit at the same time?
—YOGI BERRA

Is the new manager of the New York Yankees a true yogi?

That may seem an odd question. Lawrence Peter Berra is the most widely known Yogi in the world, or at least in those parts of the world where baseball is played. (When the Yankees appeared in Tokyo in 1955, "the biggest ovation, including screams from bobby-soxers, went to Yogi Berra," according to the Associated Press.) He loves to sit around reflecting in his undershorts. He almost never loses his cool, except in ritual observances with umpires, during which he has been seen to levitate several inches. And he's being counted on to bring peace and unity—yoga is Sanskrit for union—to baseball's most rancorous team.

Yet, yogis don't tend to appear in a form that is 5'7½" tall and weighs 190 pounds. Jimmy Cannon, the late sportswriter, said Berra was built like a bull penguin. When Larry MacPhail, the Yankee president from 1945 to 1947, first saw Berra, he was reminded of "the bottom man on an unemployed acrobatic team."

Whereas yoga springs from Hinduism, Berra is a Roman Catholic who tries to attend Mass every Sunday and who once visited the Pope. Yogi told of his meeting with Pope John XXIII in a now-famous interview:

Reporter: "I understand you had an audience with the Pope."

Yogi: "No, but I saw him."

Reporter: "Did you get to talk to him?"

Yogi: "I sure did. We had a nice little chat."

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