Wednesday, September 23, 2015
RIP Yogi Berra
Sad to wake up to the news that baseball icon Yogi Berra has passed away.
Berra made 14 consecutive All-Star teams and finished in the top 4 for MVP voting seven straight seasons (winning the award three times). Berra is arguably the greatest catcher to play the game (although I would understand if your choice was Johnny Bench instead). Yogi had incredible bat control and never struck out more than 38 times in a season. Johnny Bench had at least double Yogi's career high in strikeouts in every season Bench finished in the top 20 in MVP voting.
What puts Berra ahead of Bench in my mind is the two year head start Bench had over Berra. Bench joined the big leagues at age 19. Berra didn't make it to the big leagues until age 21. It wasn't that Berra wasn't good enough to play earlier than that. It was just that Berra was busy fighting WWII - serving in the Navy until 1946.
It boggles the mind that baseball writers did not consider Yogi Berra a first ballot Hall of Fame player. Berra received just 67% of the votes in his first year of eligibility before being elected in 1972 with 85.6% of the vote (the same year that 13% of the baseball writers didn't think Sandy Koufax was good enough for induction).
The world is a poorer place this morning with Yogi's passing.