LITTLE FALLS, N.J.–– New York Yankees legend Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra has died at the age of 90.
Berra, who nearly played his entire 19-year baseball career for the New York Yankees, passed away Tuesday night of natural causes, according to a spokesman from the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center.
“Yogi conducted his life with unwavering integrity, humility and a contagious good humor that elevated him from baseball legend to beloved national icon. For all his accolades and honors as a player, coach and mentor, he remained completely true to himself – a rare example of authentic character excellence and a lasting role model for his peers, his public, and the thousands of children who visit the YBMLC each year to take part in programs inspired by his values.”
His death comes 69 years on the day the 10-time World Series winner and three-time Most Valuable Player made his Yankees debut.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of a Yankees legend and American hero, Yogi Berra. pic.twitter.com/Bf8uXxUPzR
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 23, 2015
He was widely regarded as one of the best catchers in baseball history and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. Also that year, his signature No. 8 jersey was retired by the Yankees.
In addition to a storied tenure as a player, manager and coach, his clever quips known as “Yogi-isms” also gained him notoriety. Among his famous phrases include: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over” and “I didn’t really say everything I said.”
Born in 1925, the son of Italian immigrants, Berra came of age in the “The Hill” section of St. Louis, Missouri during the Great Depression. At the age of 18, he joined the U.S. Navy and served as machine gunner on the USS Bayfield during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. He has often said his military service was more significant to him than anything he did on the baseball field.
Following his service during World War II, he played minor league baseball before getting the call from the Yankees in 1946.
Berra and his wife Carmen were longtime residents of Montclair, New Jersey. Carmen died in March 2014.
Conceived as a reflection of his spirit and values, Montclair State University houses the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, which hoists various artifacts relating to Berra’s baseball career, including several game-used items, his championship rings and the mitt in which he caught the only perfect game in the World Series history.
Berra is survived by his three sons, who in turn produced eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His family issued the following statement:
“While we mourn the loss of our father, grandfather and great-grandfather, we know he is at peace with Mom. We celebrate his remarkable life, and are thankful he meant so much to so many. He will truly be missed.”
Many have posted their condolences and thoughts on the passing of the longtime legend on social media.
My thoughts and prayers to the Berra Family!!! Yogi you were an icon and legend to us all who play this amazing game of ⚾️!!! #8 #YogiBerra
— Shane Victorino (@ShaneVictorino) September 23, 2015
Had some great times & laffs with the Legendary Yogi Berra. One of a kind! RIP Sir!
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) September 23, 2015
Sorry to hear of the passing of one of baseballs greatest! Words can't describe what he meant to the game and city of New York. #YogiBerra
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) September 23, 2015