01 October 2021

What is a Yogiism?

A Yogiism is something said by Yogi Berra, something less profound than something written by Shakespeare but memorable.

I am old enough to remember Yogi Berra playing catcher for the New York Yankees. Lawrencec Peter 'Yogi' Berra was a great catcher and an even better clutch hitter, excelling at hitting pitches out of the strike zone. Berra had more home runs than strikeouts in five seasons. Hard to imagine.

His achievements and honors are many, including 18 times an American League All-Star, 13 times a World Series Champion, 3 times AL MVP. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Yogi and his World Series Rings

There are many Yogiisms. Here are a few examples of his unintentional or intentional wit:

"It's deja vu all over again."

"Ninety percent of the game is half-mental."

"One thing we know for sure: If you can't imitate him, don't copy him."

"If the world was perfect, it wouldn't be."

"Never answer an anonymous letter."

"Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical."

"We made too many wrong mistakes."

"You can observe a lot by watching."

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"I always thought the record would stand until it was broken."

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.

"Take it with a grin of salt."

"Always go to other people's funerals; otherwise they won't go to yours."

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there."

"If people don't want to come to the ballpark, how the hell are you gonna stop them?"

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."

"We have deep depth."

"Pair up in threes."

"Even Napoleon had his Watergate."

"You better cut the pizza into four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."

"You wouldn't have won if we'd beaten you."

"He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious."

"It gets late early out here."

"I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did."

"Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting."

"It ain't the heat. It's the humility."

"So I'm ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face."

"Little League is a very good thing. It keeps parents off the streets."

"The future ain't what it used to be."

"I usually take a two hour nap from 1 to 4."

"Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too."

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

Probably his most famous Yogiism:

"It ain't over 'til it's over."

Yogi was incorrectly credited with coining the phrase, "It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings," which was first attributed to Ralph Carpenter, Texas Tech University sport information director. When Yogi was asked about that particular quote, he told a New York Times reporter, "That's one of the things that I said that I never said."

Sources for the quotes come from:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogi_Berra#Playing_style
  • https://ftw.usatoday.com/2019/03/the-50-greatest-yogi-berra-quotes
  • https://www.authenticmanhood.com/blog/20-great-yogi-berra-quotes

That's all for now.



  1. Even if they make players like Yogi today, they surely aren't as quotable and memorable!

  2. Love these quotes. Thanks for listing so many of them.

    Hey, how many of us can say we had a TV cartoon character named after us??

  3. I too remember Yogi Berra - I loved him. Maybe his best quote is "I really didn't say everything I said."

  4. My father was a Brooklyn boy, and I was raised to loathe the smug, rich Yankees (as he saw them). However, he made an exception for Yogi Berra. Even Dad was captivated by his (mis)use of the English language. Thanks for the memories!

  5. I remember some of those, O'Neil. Everyone liked him.

    He said lawyers urged him to sue Hanna-Barbera for appropriating the name 'Yogi'. He said he couldn't do that because he'd approbated the name too.

  6. Way back forty years ago I remember reading an article in Sports Illustrated by someone arguing that Yogi really WAS a yogi, meaning a mystical philosopher. The only part I remember is his comment on "It's not over till it's over." The writer pointed out that that is true in baseball but not in most other sports. In basketball, football, or hockey, which are all based on time limits, you can get to a point where one team is so far behind they can't possibly catch up, but in baseball you could theoretically be 20 runs behind in the last inning with two outs and still win. It literally ain't over 'til it's over.

  7. He grew up in an Italian neighborhood in St. Louis with another major league catcher known for his humor, Joe Garagiola. Must’ve been something in the pasta… The game has fewer characters today, and is poorer for it…


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