“It ain’t over till it’s over.” — Yogi Berra
In a bizarre twist of fate, while working on my website and listening to the ballgame on the radio, I heard the news on the post-game show that the legendary Yogi Berra, one of the most beloved ballplayers of all time and arguably the greatest catcher the game has ever seen, passed away today at the age of 90.
Yogi coined many phrases, lovingly referred to as “Yogi-isms.” His curious brand of wordplay consisted of sayings such as “It gets late early out there”; “When you come to a fork in the road, take it”; and the often-quoted “It’s deja vu all over again.” Yesterday, while polishing up the home page for this site, I was looking for just the right quote. I stumbled across one of Yogi’s that was EXACTLY what I was looking for, and I decided to use it as the opener to the site’s homepage. It would seem much more likely that I would choose a quote from one of the Giants instead of a former New York Yankee, but Yogi had it dialed.
Yesterday, after finding that quote, I decided to expand my knowledge of Yogi beyond what I already knew of him. Wikipedia informed me that he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. His jersey number was No. 8. He was married to his wife Carmen for 65 years until her death in 2014. Following her death, their home was listed for sale at $888,888, a reference to his jersey number. Earlier today, while driving and before hearing the news of his passing, I ended up behind a car that had 8888 in the license plate, and I thought, “Hey! It’s Yogi!” Another point of interest for me on Wikipedia was Yogi’s birthdate. I saw in the sidebar that Yogi was born on May 12, 1925. 90 years old.
There was no death date yesterday. In the course of my Yogi research, I noticed immediately that he was still alive and thought, “Wow! He’s still around! How special.” Yet now, only one day later, Wikipedia has a death date for him, and Yogi ISN’T around anymore. Ironically, Yogi died on September 22nd, the same day he was originally called up to play his first big league game in 1946.
Yogi, I hope your spirit guides me in my writing. I hope you are now reunited with your beloved wife. I hope you are laughing and playing in that great big baseball diamond in the sky. Thank you for being yet another reminder that was is here one day, might not be the next. Death is indeed the greatest reminder to live fully.