Yogi Berra’s 90th birthday was yesterday, May 12. He is a a Yankee legend and an American icon. A fitting honor for his 90th birthday would be for him to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. You can sign a petition for Barack Obama to give Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra the Presidential Medal of Freedom here.
“Yogi Berra should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A man of unimpeachable integrity and respect, he befriended the first black and Latino baseball players in Major League Baseball. He is currently an ambassador for Athlete Ally, which promotes LGBT rights in sports. Berra enlisted in the U. S. Navy during World War Il and served during the D-Day invasion. He continues to be an avid supporter of our armed forces. Berra greatly values education. While with the Yankees, he created a scholarship at Columbia University that is still active 50 years later. His namesake Museum & Learning Center serves 20,000 students annually with character education programs and teaches the values of respect, sportsmanship and inclusion that Berra has demonstrated throughout his life and career.”
He was a 15-time All-Star, three-time MVP winner and 10-time World Series champion as a player. He also caught the only perfect game in World Series history. His offensive numbers were off the charts as he had a career .285 average with 321 doubles, 2,150 hits, 358 homers and 1,430 RBIs. According to the Encyclopedia of Baseball, he is fourth among all catchers in homers, first among all catchers in RBIs and sixth in OPS. He has won the most World Series championships out of anyone in baseball history.
He has his famous “Yogisms” that have made him known in popular culture. They make more sense when you think about them more. Some of them are: 1. It’s deja vu all over again. 2. 90% of this game is half mental. 3. We made too many wrong mistakes. 4. When you come to a fork in the road … take it. 5. Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.
His legacy also extends to the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. “The Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center preserves and promotes the values of social justice, respect, sportsmanship and educational excellence through inclusive, culturally diverse sports-based educational programs and exhibits. The Museum is committed to educating and inspiring all people to fulfill the values reflected in Yogi Berra’s life and accomplishments.” They provide an environment to teach social and cultural values through baseball.
Here is a detailed story in USA Today about new Yogi Berra stories that includes one about him saying that he was not sprinkling his lawn because it comes on automatically. Here is a story by Kevin Kernan in the NY Post that describes why he is the most beloved baseball player alive.
All of this information about Yogi Berra makes him deserve to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Berra’s World Series rings were stolen from the museum last October (he was recently give replicas by MLB), which makes him deserve this honor even more.
Starting in 1999 and throughout the 2000s, Berra would come to spring training every year and give advice while acting as mentor to many on the team. Derek Jeter as well as others became close to Berra. Nobody has anything negative to say about Yogi Berra.
Starting in 1999, Ron “Gator” Guidry, who pitched for the Yankees for 14 seasons and was an All-Star four times, would pick Berra up at his home and drive him to spring training and sometimes cook for him every year until Berra was physically unable to attend regularly a few years ago. They are different personalities but still developed a close bond.
“Gator is always there for Yogi,” Joe Girardi said. “Yogi is one place, there is Gator, making sure that he is alright if he needs anything. Yogi doesn’t necessarily always want it like that, but Gator is there for him.”