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  • Thursday, September 24, 2015

    Yogi Berra Played American Legion Baseball

    New York Yankee catcher and slugger Yogi Berra, who died Sept. 22 at the age of 90, got his nickname when he played American Legion Baseball.

    Yogi Berra

    Yogi Berra in 1953.

    His Baseball Hall of Fame bio put it this way:

    “Lawrence Peter Berra got the nickname Yogi during his teenage years, when he was playing American Legion Baseball. One afternoon, after attending a movie that had a short piece on India, a friend Jack Maguire noticed a resemblance between him and the ‘yogi’, or person who practiced yoga, on the screen. Maguire said, ‘I’m going to call you Yogi,’ and from that moment on, the name stuck.”

    New York American Legion Baseball Vice Chairman Joe Finn described Yogi’s World War II service in a Facebook post Sept. 23:

    Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Yogi Berra of the U.S. Navy. Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 18. He trained at Little Creek Base in Norfolk, Virginia, and was assigned to the USS Bayfield, which had orders to support the Utah Beach landings during the invasion at Normandy on D-Day.

    Yogi, a gunner’s mate, was detached to a Landing Craft Support Small (LCSS) rocket boat, which provided fire support during the beach landings.

    Later in the war, Yogi served in North Africa and Italy before being sent stateside to a Connecticut Submarine Base until his discharge. There he played on a Navy baseball team whose coach designated Yogi as a catcher and provided him an incredible opportunity, to play exhibition games against big-league teams such as the Senators, Browns and Giants.

    Soon after leaving the service, Yogi was called up to the big leagues, destined for baseball greatness.

    Yogi passed away yesterday at the age of 90. We honor his service.

    “You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.” – Yogi Berra