Baseball lost a legend early Tuesday morning as Hall of Fame Yankees catcher Yogi Berra died at the age of 90. He passed away 69 years to the day after his major league debut on Sept. 22, 1946, when he hit a home run in his second career plate appearance in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Athletics.
World Series excellence
Berra, who played his entire 19-season career with the Yankees, holds multiple World Series records, including most games played (75), most at-bats (259) and most hits (71). Elias Sports Bureau research shows he’s the only player in major league history to win 10 World Series titles, and he caught the only perfect game in postseason history, which was thrown by Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series.
The postseason accomplishments don’t stop there for Berra. He hit the first pinch-hit home run in World Series history, in 1947 off the Dodgers’ Ralph Branca, and he’s the only player to hit two home runs in a winner-take-all World Series game (1956 Game 7 against the Dodgers).
One of the best catchers ever
Berra’s playing career with the Yankees included three MVP awards, tied for the most by a catcher in major league history. He is one of three Yankees players with three MVP awards, along with fellow Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio.
He made 18 All-Star Game appearances, which is more than any other catcher in history and second-most by a Yankees player behind Mantle’s 20.
Berra hit 358 home runs in his career, fourth most by a player whose primary position was catcher, and advanced metrics paint Berra in a positive light, too. His 56.1 wins above replacement are tied with Mike Piazza for fifth most by a catcher in major league history.
He did not strike out often, recording 414 strikeouts over the course of his career and never more than 38 in one season. He had five seasons in which his home run total was higher than his strikeout total.
Berra the manager
After his playing career, Berra became a manager for the Yankees in 1964, leading them to a 99-63 record and a World Series appearance. Berra went on to manage the New York Mets, leading them to a World Series appearance in 1973, making him the only manager to lead both the Yankees and Mets to a World Series appearance.
Hall of Fame connections
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Berra played with seven Hall of Famers: DiMaggio, Mantle, Whitey Ford, Johnny Mize, Phil Rizzuto, Enos Slaughter and Warren Spahn.
He managed five Hall of Famers (not including Mantle and Ford): Rickey Henderson, Willie Mays, Phil Niekro, Tom Seaver and Dave Winfield.