Yogi has always had a way of saying things that is comical, apt, pointed, and even basically true, although somewhat convoluted. His little quips and pithy sayings have come to be known as Yogi-isms. Not surprisingly, some of these comments were not even made by the All-Star catcher and baseball manager. But enough of them came from his lips to go ahead and give him credit for the rest of them.
After all, he created a type of speaking unique enough to have a new word coined to explain his method of communicating.
Here are 100 of his sayings, in no special order. They are gleaned from various public sources and are therefore reproducible when he is given proper credit. Go ahead… laugh out loud at some of these classic Yogi-isms. “It’s like déjà vu… all over again!”
- “You can observe a lot just by watching.”
- “I want to thank you for making this night necessary.” On Yogi Berra Appreciation Day in St. Louis in 1947.
- “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
- “It gets late early out there.” Referring to the bad sun conditions in left field at the stadium.
- “I take a two hour nap, from one o’clock to four.”
- “I always knew that record would stand until it was broken.” Supposedly said when Johnny Bench broke his home run record.
- “We made too many wrong mistakes.”
- “You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn’t enough in the second half you give what’s left.”
- “You should always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”
- “It ain’t the heat; it’s the humility.”
- “He can run anytime he wants. I’m giving him the red light.” On the acquisition of fleet Ricky Henderson.
- “If people don’t want to come out to the ball park, how you gonna stop them?”
- “Thanks, you don’t look so hot yourself.” After being told he looked nice and cool.
- “I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early.”
- “Baseball is 90% mental… the other half is physical.”
- “He must have made that before he died.” Referring to a Steve McQueen movie.
- “I’d say he’s done more than that.” When asked if first baseman Don Mattingly had exceeded expectations for the current season.
- “The towels were so thick there… I could hardly close my suitcase.”
- “Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel.”
- “Texas has a lot of electrical votes.” During an election campaign, after George Bush stated that Texas was important to the election.
- “90% of the putts that are short don’t go in.”
- Once, Yogi’s wife Carmen asked, “Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?” Yogi replied, “Surprise me.”
- “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
- “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.” Referring to a restaurant.
- “Slump? I ain’t in no slump. I just ain’t hitting.”
- “That’s his style of hitting. If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”
- “How long have you known me, Jack? And you still don’t know how to spell my name.” Upon receiving a check from Jack Buck made out to “bearer.”
- “I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?”
- “The other teams could make trouble for us if they win.”
- “It’s never happened in the World Series competition, and it still hasn’t.”
- “Yeah, but we’re making great time!” In reply to “Hey Yogi, I think we’re lost.”
- “Glen Cove.” Referring to Glenn Close on a movie review television show.
- “I’d find the fellow who lost it, and, if he was poor, I’d return it.” When asked what he would do if he found a million dollars.
- “Think! How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?”
- “It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much.”
- “Do you mean now?” When asked for the time
- “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
- “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
- “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”
- “All pitchers are liars or crybabies.”
- “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
- “Nobody can be all smiley all the time, but having a good positive attitude isn’t something to shrug off.”
- “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
- “Dickey is learning me his experience.” Comment on learning from Bill Dickey.
- “Swing at the strikes.”
- “No, ma’am, it’s not even carbonated.” Answer to the question if the word Yoo-Hoo was hyphenated.
- “No, but I saw him.” When asked if he had an audience with the Pope.
- “Yeah, what paper do you write for?” When introduced to Ernest Hemingway.
- “What’s a Yogi-ism?” His question after being told he had used a Yogi-ism.
- “If I were playing alone, I would use my ball.” His reply in scramble golf when the other players wouldn’t use his ball.
- “He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”
- “I can see how he (Sandy Koufax) won 25 games. What I don’t understand is how he lost 5.”
- When asked if the naked fans streaking the field were men or women, Yogi replied: “I don’t know. They had bags over their heads.”
- “I’m not gonna buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”
- “In baseball you don’t know nothing.”
- “I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house.”
- “I wish everybody had the drive he (Joe DiMaggio) had. He never did nothing wrong on the field. I never seen him dive for the ball… everything was a waist-high catch… and he never walked off the field.”
- “So I’m ugly. I never saw nobody hit with his face.”
- “Take it with a grin of salt.”
- “If we didn’t want to bring him up we might as well have let him stay down.”
- “Mt. Sinus Hospital.”
- “Was that local time?”
- A newspaper said its game summary of Yogi going 2 for 4 instead of 3 for 4 was a typographical error. Yogi’s reply: “Like hell it was… it was a clean single to right.”
- “We’ve had enough trowels and tribulations.”
- “Never answer an anonymous letter.”
- “Little League is good because it keeps the parents off the streets.”
- “When I was young and green behind the ears.”
- When asked if he really confused Glenn Close with Glen Cove his answer was: “A little bit.”
- “… contract lenses.”
- While signing autographs a woman yelled out…”Hey, Yogi, you got a minute?” Yogi’s reply: “For what?”
- “Even the music was nice.” Yogi’s reply about the opera Tosca.
- “Is he living? Is he living now?”
- After being told of a Jewish mayor being elected in Dublin, Ireland, Yogi’s response was, “Yeah, only in America can this happen.”
- “If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be.”
- “George who?” An obvious reference to hated Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
- When told a teammate was waiting for Bo Derek, Yogi responded, “I haven’t seen him.”
- “A home opener is always exciting, whether it’s at home or on the road.”
- When asked what size hat he wore he replied: “I’m not in shape yet.”
- When asked what he was doing after making a Jiffy Lube commercial, Yogi responded: “I’ve been doing a commercial for Linseed Oil.”
- It started raining while he was riding in a friend’s car. Yogi asked: “Where is that coming from?”
- Yogi turned down a mousse for dessert while in Alaska with the response: “The meat’s too tough and the horns get stuck in my teeth.”
- “The game is supposed to be fun. If you have a bad day… don’t worry about it. You can’t expect to get a hit every game.”
- Commenting on the fact that GM was discontinuing the Corvair model, Yogi said: “They are not going to make them next year, so I am gonna buy a Volkswagen or a foreign car.”
- When asked about the Afghan dog in his friend’s car Yogi replied: “Looks nice. I’m thinking about a Vega.”
- Upon becoming the Astro’s coach Yogi replied: “What difference does a uniform make? You don’t hit with it.”
- When asked what he liked best about school he had a one word answer: “Closed.”
- “If you don’t catch the ball you catch the bus home.”
- “You can’t compare me to my father. Our similarities are different.” Supposedly said by Yogi’s son Dale, but it sure sounds like dad.
- “I never said most of the things I said.”
- When asked if he wanted to go see a dirty movie Yogi replied: “Okay, who’s in it?”
- Playing a game on television, Yogi was told to say the first thing that came to mind when he heard a name. The announcer then said Mickey Mantle. Yogi’s response: “What about him?”
- “… we were overwhelming underdogs.”
- When his teammate asked for $10.00 for breakfast Yogi thumbed through a wad of bills from his pocket and replied, “I don’t have a ten.”
- “He was a big clog in their machine.”
- When told by a teammate he was foolish for not getting life insurance Yogi replied heatedly: “I’ll get it when I die.”
- After finishing his comic book, Yogi turns to his roommate, who’s reading a medical textbook. Yogi asks: “How does yours come out?”
- “It’s not too far. It just seems like it is.”
- When told his golfing buddies were using Ultra 2 and a Top Flite 3 balls Yogi responded: “Then I’ll use a Molitor 3.”
- When told his buddy got a cyst on his back while trodding through bushes quail hunting Yogi queried: “What kind of bird is a cyst?”
- Number 100 is taken from a commencement speech Yogi gave to the Class of ’96 at Montclair State: “I am… happy to speak my words… A lot of people have been quoting me… But, as I once said, I didn’t really say everything I said. So now it’s my turn. I want to give some of my famous advice to the graduates.
First, never give up, because it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
Second, during the years ahead, when you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Third, don’t always follow the crowd, because nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.
Fourth, stay alert. You can learn a lot by watching.
Fifth, and last, remember that whatever you do in life, 90 percent of it is half mental.
In closing, I want to quote myself again: Thank you, Montclair State University, for making this day necessary.”
Some of Yogi’s friends have made some great comments about the legendary catcher. Among them are:
“Why has our pitching been so great? Our catcher, that’s why. He looks cumbersome, but he’s as quick as a cat.” Casey Stengel
“He seemed to be doing everything wrong, yet everything came out right. He stopped everything behind the plate and hit everything in front of it.” Mel Ott
“Yogi had the fastest bat I ever saw. He could hit a ball late… and take it out of the park. The pitchers were afraid of him because he’d hit anything, so they didn’t know what to throw. Yogi had them psyched out and he wasn’t even trying to psyche them out.” Hector Lopez
Perhaps the most honest and insightful comment ever made about Yogi was said by the former Commissioner of Major League Baseball A. Bartlett Giamatti: “Talking to Yogi Berra about baseball is like talking to Homer about the Gods.” Amen to that!