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"Ninety percent of this game is half mental." Hall of Fame catcher and manager Yogi Berra always had a way with words. This modest former New York Yankee also knew his way around the diamond: During his 19-year major league career, he was a 15-time All-Star, a ten-time World Series champion, and a three-time Most Valuable Player. As a manager, he won pennants for both the Yankees and their intercity rivals, the Mets. Yogi Berra: The Eternal Yankee celebrates this now octogenarian fan favorite with a lively, affectionate, illustrated biography that captures this amiable, self-deprecating diamond genius at his best.
In the introduction to his latest effort, Barra (The Last Coach: A Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant ) says that one of his goals was to create the first comprehensive work written about Yogi Berra, the greatest ballplayer never to have had a serious biography. The result is not only comprehensive but also incredibly engaging, as Barra narrates the life of one of the most eccentric ballplayers of the 20th century. Starting with his modest Italian upbringing in St. Louis, Mo., Berra quickly took a liking to what his father called a bum's game. And after a short career in the navy, he parlayed his talents into one of the most decorated athletic careers in history, leading the New York Yankees to 10 World Series championships and winning three MVPs. Each of Berra's baseball highlights is meticulously described, as are his stints as a manager for both the Yankees and crosstown Mets, his relationships with men like Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle and George Steinbrenner, and his ability to create some of the most famous catchphrases of our time, Yogiisms, as they're called. Barra's love of the catcher with the similar name is evident throughout this deserving biography of Yogi. (Mar.)
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Harry Levins - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Although Barra includes lots of play-by-play action in his book, he shows enough skill as a writer to prevent his book from becoming one big box score recast as simple declarative sentences. His game action stresses context and the development of Yogi as both a batter and a receiver.”
David M. Shribman - Bloomberg
“It has fallen to Allen Barra, one of the most erudite sportswriters in America...to tell the Yogi story in all its glory and nuance. In Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee, he walks the reader through contract squabbles, spring training, confrontations with the Red Sox, World Series victories and the sportswriters’ exaggerations that created the Yogi myth.”
“Count me among the Yankee haters who devoured this book.”
"A competent and comprehensive job, with enough stories and statistics to satisfy the most fervent fan." The Washington Post
“Allen Barra’s real Yogi Berra is even more interesting than the legendary one.”
Margaret Heilbrun, Gilles Renaud
An accomplished sports biographer gives us one of the best recitations of an athlete's life and times since Paul J. Zingg's 1993 study of early baseball great Harry Hooper. Barra shows Yogi Berra as a signal example of immigrant success, an emblem of faith, family, and the rewards of determination. One of the best baseball books of the year, for all baseball fans, not just the ones who love pinstripes. For all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/08.]
A full-scale biography of the most quoted and, possibly, the most underrated player in baseball history. From the 1950s cartoon that ripped off his name to the Aflac commercials of recent years, Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra has had an identity and impact outside the game greater than all but Ruth, Robinson and Gehrig. A Depression-era child of Italian immigrants, Berra grew up (along with Joe Garagiola, who as a player and broadcaster would do much to burnish Berra's folk-hero status) on "Dago Hill" in St. Louis with a strong set of values and a surprising certainty about his talent and worth as a player. His New York baseball career began in earnest after the war, and he quickly developed a reputation as a notorious bad-ball hitter and, eventually, a shrewd handler of pitchers. He only occasionally joined his hard-living Yankee teammates-Ford, Mantle, Martin-at Toots Shor's joint or the Copacabana, preferring instead to go to the movies or attend to a growing list of product endorsements. While there are plenty of stories here to prove that Berra's popular image is rooted in fact, Barra (The Last Coach: A Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant, 2005, etc.) reminds us how truly great a player Berra was-three-time American League MVP and ten-time World Series champion-and how smart a baseball man came disguised in his unlikely body. After his playing career, Berra coached and managed pennant-winning teams in each league. The play about him insists that Nobody Don't Like Yogi, and while that's not quite true-ask Willie Mays, Cleon Jones or Tom Seaver-for more than 60 years Berra has been a vital part of the game and a pop-culture icon. Now the worthy subject receives a serious biography that dignifieshis baseball accomplishments and still manages to make us smile. A superior sports book bound to interest more than just die-hard fans, ranking with classics like Robert Creamer's Babe: The Legend Comes to Life (1974) and Richard Ben Cramer's Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life (2000). Author tour to New York, Washington, D.C., Birmingham, Ala., St. Louis, Los Angeles, Montclair, N.J.
What People Are Saying
"A competent and comprehensive job, with enough stories and statistics to satisfy the most fervent fan." -The Washington Post