I forgot to take my camera to the Yogi Berra Museum yesterday for the Hall of Famer’s comments on the passing of George Steinbrenner, but it didn’t matter — there were so many TV cameras there that I didn’t have much of a view. My one shot with my Droid turned out pretty well, though.
Yogi looked good, aside from his obvious sadness at Steinbrenner’s death. He’s 85, five years older than the Boss was, and was joined by his wife of 61 years, Carmen, and their youngest son, Dale, who I didn’t recognize at first.
A few additional anecdotes from yesterday:
Yogi on Bob Sheppard:
Sheppard, he was great too. … I loved the way he said the names, like a singer. “Mickeyyyy Mantlllle.” He was a very nice man. When he came onto the field, he didn’t say anything, didn’t bother you that much.
Dale on his dad and Steinbrenner:
He would’ve liked to have played for him. My dad was one of the greatest players in the history of the game. It didn’t matter who owned or managed the team when he was a player, he was going to be the best player on the field anyway. Who managed or coached was irrelevant. When you’re a Hall of Famer, it doesn’t manner who your manager or coach is. Just like Rickey Henderson and Winfield and Mattingly, the best players, their names are in the lineup everyday, they go out and play. It’s irrelevant who the manager is. They go out and play. They respected George because he put the best players around them and gave them an opportunity to win.
Dale on his dad’s firing in 1985:
Even when Dad was fired, I went into the office and he said, “Billy’s going to be the manager. Play for him like you did for me. He’s like an uncle to you. Same with George, go out and play hard. Don’t worry about me, I’m going to be playing golf tomorrow.” George is wonderful to play for. He gives you the opportunity to win and puts players together who can win.
Yogi on his job:
He called me up in the office one time and said, “Your team’s not doing very well.” I said, “Don’t tell me this is my team. It’s your team. You picked it. I didn’t.” [Laughing.]
Yogi on some of Steinbrenner’s requirements:
Sometimes Billy would take the phone off the hook. [Steinbrenner] would call down and tell the guys to get a haircut. He didn’t like long hair. Still didn’t, I don’t think. Swisher had that long hair and had to get it cut. And we always had to wear a jacket and tie on the plane.