The baseball great Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra died at the grand old age of 90 on 22nd September in New Jersey, America. He became a New York Yankees’ favourite, spending most of his lengthy 19-season career in Major League Baseball there and establishing himself as one of the all-time greats of the game. He helped the Yankees to 10 World Series titles and hit 358 home runs, being renowned as one of the finest catchers the game has ever seen. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

Although his sporting prowess was evident throughout his days not only as a player, but also as a manager and coach, he also became well known for being responsible for many memorable quotes.

Indeed many of his thoughts and ideas have drifted in common parlance, whenever a catchphrase seems appropriate.

Here we reflect on some of the comments that were attributed to the great man during his lifetime.

  • “Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.” Implying that the other 50% are indeed true so not really lies at all.
  • “Losing is a learning experience.” A sentiment that many sports’ pundits and analysts have agreed with down the years, in the hope that the ‘learning’ is reflected in future victories.
  • “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Sound advice as travel advice IF you know which fork is the one that you want!
  • “You can observe a lot by just watching.” He obviously kept his eyes peeled during his playing career and used that knowledge when he later managed both the Yankees and the New York Mets.
  • “It ain't over till it's over.” A variation on the colloquialism that “it ain't over till (or until) the fat lady sings,” a familiar encouragement from the sidelines in any competitive sport.
  • "Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical." The educational establishment may quibble about the accuracy of the calculation but we get the gist of his point.
  • "It's déjà vu all over again." Proving that he had hindsight and a great memory during his career.
  • "He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious." A statement that Del Boy Trotter would no doubt have been proud to use on Only Fools and Horses.

The man himself denied that all of the quotes associated with his name did in fact originate from his lips, but his sharp wit only added to his reputation and enhanced the fondness with which he was regarded by baseball fans. He is often cited as the inspiration behind the name of the popular cartoon character Yogi Bear, a character also well known for his wisecracks and comments.