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Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra, one of the greatest catchers in baseball history as well as a Navy veteran who took part in the invasion of Normandy, and a remarkable (if sometimes accidental) wit and truth-teller who became baseball's philosopher king, passed away yesterday. He was 90.

It is worth reading some of the voluminous obituaries that are appearing today just to get the sense of the depth and breadth of Berra's career. Among other things, he appeared in 21 World Series as a player, coach and manager. Here's a passage from today's New York Times:

"Berra’s career batting average of .285 was not as high as that of his Yankee predecessor Dickey (.313), but Berra hit more home runs (358) and drove in more runs (1,430). Widely praised by pitchers for his astute pitch-calling, Berra led the American League in assists five times, and from 1957 through 1959 went 148 consecutive games behind the plate without making an error, a major league record at the time — though he was not a defensive wizard from the start ... On defense, he certainly surpassed Mike Piazza, the best-hitting catcher of recent vintage — and maybe ever. Johnny Bench, whose Cincinnati Reds teams of the 1970s were known as the Big Red Machine, and Berra were comparable in offensive production, except that Bench struck out three times as often. Berra whiffed a mere 414 times in more than 8,300 plate appearances over 19 seasons — an astonishingly small ratio for a power hitter.

"Others — Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter and Ivan Rodriguez among them — also deserve consideration in a discussion of great catchers, but none was clearly superior to Berra on offense or defense. Only Roy Campanella, a contemporary rival who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and faced Berra in the World Series six times before his career was ended by an auto accident, equaled Berra’s total of three Most Valuable Player awards. And though Berra did not win the award in 1950 — his teammate Phil Rizzuto did — he gave one of the greatest season-long performances by a catcher that year, hitting .322, smacking 28 homers and driving in 124 runs."

When Berra began his career, his manager, Casey Stengel assessed him this way: "Mr. Berra is a very strange fellow of very remarkable abilities."

Remarkable, indeed.
KC's View:
Berra famously said, "It ain't over 'til it's over." This is one that he actually got wrong ... because though he now has passed way after a long and full life, his good humor, spirit and passion for the game of baseball will long outlive him.