By Sam Bush

Yogi Berra, who was one of the greatest catchers in baseball history and one of the game’s unwitting wits, passed away at the age of 90 Tuesday night.

He undoubtedly would be reminding people of what he once said: “You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”

Although listed at 5-7, 185 in his playing days, Berra stood tall among the game’s elite. In 1999 he was one of 100 players selected to major league baseball’s All-Century team.

Berra was a free swinger who loved to chase pitches way out of the strike zone. “If I can hit it, it’s a good pitch,” he said of a career that spanned 18 seasons with the Yankees. Thirteen of those seasons ended in the World Series, and Berra was a part of 10 Yankees championship teams.

He batted .285 with 358 home runs and 1,430 runs batted in a career that finished with a short stint with the New York Mets in 1965.

Behind the plate, he was a classic catcher, adept at handling pitchers, comfortable in the squat position and skilled in using his quickness to smother their wild offerings.

He also managed the Yankees and Mets and led both to the World Series, never winning. But long after his playing/managing days, Berra maintained a public profile as one of baseball’s all-time classic personalities.

Joe Garagiola, a childhood friend of Berra’s in an Italian neighborhood in St. Louis known as “The Hill,” also became a catcher in the major leagues but gained his fame as a broadcaster and baseball humorist.

He once told the story of how Berra gave his wife, Carmen, an anniversary card signed, “Yogi Berra.” She asked him if he figured he had to sign his last name so that she wouldn’t confuse him with somebody else named “Yogi.”

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